Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Double Time”

Categories: LORD'S SUPPER, WORSHIP
     We offer the Lord’s Supper in the evening to those who choose to miss morning worship for whatever reason, be it their job schedule, illness, or just to sleep in.  It seems to me that, as was done in the early church, the Lord’s Supper should be offered once on the first day of the week.  If a congregation chooses to have an evening Bible study, at least some, like myself, might not wonder whether I am, in fact, forsaking the assembly by not attending evening services.  What is your position on this matter?

Sincerely,
Two Too Many

Dear Two Too Many,

Let’s deal with the “job schedule, illness, or just to sleep in” statement first.  If a congregation is actively saying that it doesn’t matter if you wish to skip part of the services on Sunday, they are wrong.  God tells us that Sunday is “the Lord’s Day” (Rev 1:10), and the pattern we see is that faithful congregations emphasize attendance and emphasize prioritizing classes, services, and active involvement with the brotherhood.  That certainly is the pattern we see in the early church (Acts 2:46-47).  If a congregation has moved into the “multiple services, come if you feel like it and it is convenient” mentality – there are already bigger problems than whether or not you offer the Lord’s Supper twice.

Now having said that, a second offering of the Lord’s Supper is an issue that many good brethren wrestle with.  Does a congregation have the right to offer the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday?  Is it biblical for a local church to offer communion in the morning and then offer it again at a Sunday evening service?  We believe so, but we also believe that there is room for disagreement on this issue, and if a brother or sister doesn’t feel comfortable with a second serving of the communion, they should abstain.  We must all seek to serve God with a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:19), and if you can’t do something in faith, you shouldn’t do it (Rom 14:23).  Having said that, here are our thoughts on the subject of offering the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday.

The Bible never tells us the amount of times that a congregation must offer the Lord’s Supper; it only tells us that it must be taken by the saints sometime on Sunday (Acts 20:7).  This leaves us a twenty-four hour period in which a christian can gather with the church and fulfill this command.  The specific times we choose to meet are an expediency… simply a matter of preference.

1 Cor 11:33 says that a congregation must “wait for one another”.  1 Cor 11:21-22 clarifies that the problem in Corinth was that they were eating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal and not waiting to do it solemnly together.  The problem in Corinth was that they were eating communion for the purpose of filling their bellies instead of remembering the Lord’s death (1 Cor 11:34).  The goal of waiting for one another was to provide a scheduled time to fulfill this command together.  It didn’t mean that every christian needed to be present (otherwise, a congregation couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Supper unless every member was accounted for), and it didn’t mean that they couldn’t schedule multiple times to wait for one another.  It simply meant that they had to treat the Lord’s Supper as a holy and spiritual meal of remembrance.  The church is responsible for doing things in a decent and orderly way (1 Cor 14:40).  Offering the Lord’s Supper in the morning and evening fulfills that command for order and decency.  The congregation is providing specific orderly times for members to fulfill their command to gather with the church and take the Lord’s Supper.

The church is commanded to provide opportunity for christians to take the Lord’s Supper with the church, but the individual is responsible for taking it.  If a congregation offers the Lord’s Supper in both the morning and evening, it is doing its job – providing opportunity.  It is the same as the command to take up a collection.  Most congregations provide opportunity for individuals to give financially at both the morning and evening services – which matches exactly with the command in 1 Cor 16:1-2.  No one bats an eye when a congregation offers the collection basket twice.  In fact, we would probably be shocked if a congregation refused to take someone’s contribution because they missed morning services.  Yet, this is exactly the same as offering the Lord’s Supper twice.   It is a matter of expediency.  When a congregation offers the collection and the Lord’s Supper at both services, it is simply trying to provide opportunity for all (even those who were unable to attend in the morning) to fulfill God’s commands to give and take the Lord’s Supper on Sunday.