Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Receptionism and the Lord's Supper

Yesterday, I listened to a fantastic interview on Issues, Etc., featuring Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, pastor at Memorial Lutheran in Houston and 5th Vice President of the LCMS, on the topic of Receptionism and the Lord's Supper.  We were just talking about this very topic last Sunday during Adult Bible Study.  There is a lot of confusion out there regarding this topic, and I really believe that the practice among Lutherans surrounding the Lord's Supper over the years has had a negative impact on how Lutherans view the Supper, and has allowed the false teaching of Receptionism in.  Ceremonies teach, after all.  Our Confessions are right about that.  And, when our ceremonies give the impression that the Body and Blood of Jesus are only present in the bread and wine when people eat and drink, as if the Body and Blood is not present the moment our Lord Christ speaks His Word through the pastor over the elements and doesn't remain present until everything is consumed, well, people are going to believe just that.  And, when they believe that, many abuses surely follow.  If it's only the Body and Blood upon eating and drinking, there is no reason to adore the Lord Jesus Christ upon the altar, nor does it matter what you do with the reliquae (what remains after the Distribution).  But, that's simply false.  The moment our Lord says, "This is My Body," it is.  Likewise, "This is My Blood."  Thus, are we right to adore Him upon the altar and to kneel before Him at the altar rail to receive Him.  This is why I also believe it is beneficial to elevate and genuflect during the consecration.  Ceremonies teach.  These particular ceremonies leave no doubt that the celebrant is confessing the Lord's Presence and teach the faithful accordingly.  No, I'm not saying that the celebrant has to elevate and genuflect, just that these are helpful and beneficial ceremonies, especially in our day and age when there is much confusion out there about this, not to mention the numerous abuses which have arisen because of this confusion - abuses like throwing used individual cups into a bucket with the Lord's Blood in them, or mixing consecrated wafers with the unconsecrated and putting both in a Jiffy jar in the cabinet in the sacristy, and so forth.

Anyway, enough blathering on.  You can listen to this excellent and very informative interview below.  There is also a link to an excellent paper written by Dr. Murray, well worth your time to read.


Dennis Peskey said...

Thank you. It is refreshing to hear the clarity of "is means is" and is not contingent on our faith, small as it is.

Scott Diekmann said...

It was a fantastic interview!