The 40th General Assembly passed an overture to revise “Book of Church Order” 58-5. The change would prohibit the practice of intinction (dipping bread into a common cup instead of receiving the bread and cup separately). Two-thirds of the PCA’s 80 presbyteries must approve the change for the motion to pass.

As of Jan. 23, 41 presbyteries had reported their vote. Twelve presbyteries have voted in favor of the change; 29 have rejected it, making it impossible to reach the two-thirds required.

Click here to see how individual presbyteries voted.

75 Responses to Intinction Amendment Fails

  1. Judy Notestine says:

    I was disappointed in the vote over prohibiting the practice of intinction. Compromise after compromise is, in practice, the same as denying the authority and inerrancy of the Scripture. Is that next? I have several PCUSA friends I meet with on a regular basis. Have PCA pastors seriously talked with pastors and members of that denomination, recently, and found how far they have gone into unbelief over the decades of denial of Scriptural truth? Right now, I can worship at my local church in spirit and in truth. How long will that be true in the PCA denomination as a whole?

    • Delbert Freeman says:

      Judy, one question, is it a compromise of Tradition or Scripture? That is the pivotal question. Considering that a large part of the “Church” (i.e., Body of Christ) has historically served the eucharist by intinction AND there is no Scriptural mandate on HOW the elements are to be served. If one takes the passage in 1Cor 11 literally, then we would be celebrating the eucharist with a pot-luck dinner.

      I have been a “communion service” that so cheapened the sacrament as to approach blasphemy – yet it was served in “both kinds.”

      What is extremely important is that the Sacrament is celebrated with the understanding that this is the most Holy thing we do. The mode does not make it Holy, worship from the heart does.

      • Chris Peters says:

        Delbert, if you believe the mode doesn’t matter in worship, then you are not Presbyterian, but Baptist.

        • Delbert Freeman says:

          Chris, that is not what I said at all – yet, if by “mode” you mean liturgy, there is a sense in which the form does not matter. If you think there is only one “right” liturgy, I wonder if you have not placed – with all good intention – yourself on a very shaky foundation.

          However, we were talking about the Eucharist, and more specifically, the “mode”. Many parts of the Church use intinction. Does that mean they are “Wrong!”? If it does, would you please give me chapter and verse to support that view?

          As for me being Baptist, One Point Calvinism it totally illogical. I am a Christian. One who is as at home on a mountain top in the Philippines at a half Black half Philippino revival as he in an Orthodox Divine…

          • Paul Matthews says:

            The burden rests on you to prove intinction is a Biblical method for Communion since it is out of step with our practice. I have no doubt those for it are sincere. But, it is very obvious that the disciples shared bread, ate it completely, and then in a separate action drank wine. That is obvious to anyone reading the Bible. So why, in your view, would Scripture support eating it together?

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            Not really. Since Scripture does not specify the mode, anyone who wants to argue for a specific mode must, of necessity, explain why that one mode should be used to the exclusion of all others.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Dilbert, I never said there is one “right” liturgy. In fact, I think the text of Scripture allows several variations with regard to the exact kinds of elements, distribution, timing, etc. However, that is different from Christ’s command to perform two actions.

            Would you name for us the “many parts” of the Church which use intinction? I would imagine you wouldn’t press the argument that the number of churches adopting a particular practice doesn’t affirm the rightness of such practice. Let’s go to the Scriptures, and see what we find. I propose that finding room for intinction in the commands of Christ places us on a very shaky foundation in which Scripture can be stretched to allow just about anything we desire.

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            A simple visit to my friend Google brought the following answer to your request.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intinction

          • Donald Codling says:

            If you consider that we are commanded to serve the bread and wine separately, then I presume you also recognize that the same text commands directly that we use a single cup, and by implication requires us to use wine, not grape juice and unleavened bread. That’s what Jesus used at the Passover meal when he instituted the Lord’s Supper. When Paul directs us to imitate him, at the beginning of 1 Cor 11, he adds, “as I imitate Christ”, so if he is referring to the mode, then we are filing when we use multiple cups, grape juice or leavened bread.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Donald,

            Do you find some prescription for a common cup in Scripture? Though there is discussion about the symbolism of the common loaf in 1 Cor. 10 (and even this argument breaks down when pushed too far – consider the unity of all believers across multiple congregations each with their own loaf), the argument for the common cup appears to be weaker. After all, there is some implication that Jesus himself may not have used a common cup (Luke 22:17 – And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.”) 

            In short, I do not recognize a prescription for a single cup or a single loaf, and I don’t think sound exegesis will support such.

          • Donald Codling says:

            Common cup. Simple exegesis. First, it was a Passover meal; all the evidence says it was a common cup. More important, every reference in the Bible refers to cup in the singular. The idea of cups is simply an invention to justify a practice that has developed later; there is zero Scriptural base for it. Indeed Jesus said, in Luke 22, “Divide it among yourselves” – the one cup which he blessed. He was telling them to drink, to share it., not to take up their separate cups and have a drink. If we are to imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus in the forms, then multiple cups is a sin, arguably using grape juice is a sin, and in fact we probably should go for unleavened bread.

        • Matt Haslam says:

          To which Baptists are you refering?

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            Southern Baptist mainly. They want to keep (except that growing percentage that are true Five Pointers) the Fifth point (Perseverance of the Saints) but dismiss the preceding four points. With the first four points gone, there is nothing for the fifth point to stand on.

        • Tim Henry says:

          Mode matters. Delbert seems not to understand. The real problem is that so many people in. the PCA do not understand many things in scripture. The elements should be taken separately, according to the instruction of scripture.

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            Delbert does understand. Believe me, he understands only too well.

            The problem is, there are those whose reading of Scripture is so colored by tradition that they cannot read what is actually in the text, and what is not. What is in the text is the plain fact that there are two elements (bread and wine).

            What traditions have done to the text (without violating it, I might add) is to substitute grape juice for wine. While the text will not support the use off grape juice, it does not disqualify its use either.

            We use a common loaf,wafers, little squares of cracker, loaves (leavened and unleavened).

            We partake in our seats, standing or sitting at the chancel rail

            None of the above violates Scripture and all are our…

      • Judy Notestine says:

        Delbert, thank you for your question as to whether it is a compromise to tradition or Scripture. I will think about that. See my answer, below, to Tom, for more on my perspective.

      • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

        Delbert – what could be clearer?

        1 Corinthians 11:26–29 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

        • Delbert Freeman says:

          Beware of proof texting. Nothing in that statement says they cannot be combined. It merely says there are two elements.

          If this furor was over serving the Eucharist in One Kind Only, then you would have a valid point. But that is not want is being discussed and your text will not withstand the weight you want to place on it.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Matthew 26:26–28 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

            Dilbert, it isn’t just proof texting. Jesus distributed the elements separately, and assigned different meanings to both elements. In fact, the separation of body and blood itself is a matter of some theological (and physiological) import.

            But you claim these texts only show there are two elements. That’s part of the point. In intinction there is one: soggy bread.

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            If you are going to proof text from 1Cor and Matthew for the necessity of serving the elements separately, and you want to be consistent with your own proof texting, then, of necessity, you are going to have to argue for a “common cup” and a “common loaf”. That means doing away with the trays passed through the congregation. That brings everyone either to the front of the church in a long line, or (supposing you even have one) the Chancel Rail.

            Are you really sure that is what you want to argue for?

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Dilbert,

            With regard to “proof-tecting,” it sseems to ne a label one can apply to anyone using the Scripture to argue a point.

            Raising the “one cup / one loaf” argument is a red herring in this particular debate – please realize that pointing out apparent problems with a someone else’s practice is not a valid defense for disobeying a clear command ourselves. I have dealt briefly with the objection that the same passages require a single cup or single loaf throughout the comments regarding this topic on Vintge73 here: bit.ly/Mtvbib

            I

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            Its wasn’t that I was pointing out someone else’s problems with “praxis” but with their “argumentation.” That is hugely different.

          • James Sharrett says:

            Delbert, you use a common and clearly flawed logical construct in trying to make the argument that, if you’re NOT told NOT to do something (double-negative) then it’s implied that you can do it. Wrong. Scripture already cited give clears instruction on how Jesus and the Apostles administer the sacrament and in not of those was it implied as a suggestion.

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            I think you are mistaken. I am not making that mistake (if its not prohibited, its permitted) I am merely saying that the argumentation I have heard to date is flawed. In trying to proof text a prohibition, one imposes on oneself the necessity to follow the text cited literally. That being the case, the argumentation, again to date, that I have heard against intinction is actually also making the argument against serving the bread and cup in other than the common loaf and the common cup, which is exactly what Christ would have used in the Upper Room.

          • Frank Bartles says:

            Oh Jerry, calling something a red-herring doesn’t make it so. We want to know if you are ready to follow your rationale to its conclusion. We have been interpreting BCO 58-5 loosely as a denomination for four decades. Does your church use tiny cups and juice? Wine is prescribed TWICE in the BCO.

            Not to mention this: the BCO doesn’t forbid intinction as-is. The passage describes the distribution of the elements but not how they are consumed.

          • Frank Bartles says:

            One more thing Jerry:

            Are you prepared now to also call your brothers and sisters in the church who avoid the common cup and drink juice, are you ready to prosecute them? Understanding how you intend to batter your juice-drinking brethren with Letters of Concern would be interesting theater. It might also be an act of love to give the rest of the denomination a heads-up.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Frank,
            I disagree with your premise that the rationale I gave leads to the conclusions you are pushing. WLC 177 says that those who partake must “diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions [both plural, by the way]”. The question before the last GA, the subject of the amendment, and the topic of this article was over the actions. A discussion about the elements is welcome and due in the PCA, but I do think it’s a distraction from the issue of sacramental actions.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            The actions “eat” and “drink” and “do this” are imperative verbs of command in the relevant texts. On every other issue, there may be room for reform, but the issues pale in comparison. While I am in favor of using wine, and the BCO and Standards use the term explicitly, it is not the Scriptural command. The Scripture, as you realizes, does not specify wine, but only uses the terms “cup” and “fruit of the vine.” Of course, unfermented juice was not commonly available until after the language in those documents was adopted. This would be a great discussion for Sessions, Presbyteries, and the GA to have.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Frank,
            Our church uses both fermented and unfermented “fruit of the vine.” We divide the cup amongst the congregation before distributing it. The BCO does not explicitly forbid intinction, but does so implicitly. Scripture, however, and our Confession, do forbid it. I am not ready to prosecute those who avoid the common cup and drink juice, as I believe such charges could not be proven from Scripture or Constitution. I don’t have any idea what the reference to the Letters of Concern is, so I’ll leave that alone unless you can clarify for me. I’ve not heard a report of any church within my Presbytery practicing intinction, or I would ask the Presbytery to investigate.

        • Jason Riggs says:

          Doesn’t the word and join two things? Isn’t that why it’s called a conjunction? If we make a point of separating what has been joined, don’t we risk rending the sacrament?

          • Delbert Freeman says:

            Jerry, have you really looked at your argument? I mean, really backed off and looked at it? That may be hard, because you are so familiar with the position, but you will do yourself a huge favor if you did. There is nothing in the text cited about “mode.” Paul does mention two elements, but is totally silent on the “mode” with which those elements are to be given to the congregation.

            Jason, your argument from grammar could actually be used to support administering the elements in “one kind,” and in fact is one of the principle arguments for so doing. I am no sure you want to use that argument to support intinction.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Delbert,

            In short: yes. WLC 177 says we are to “diligently observe both the sacramental elements and actions.” [Note that actions is plural.] You say the Scripture doesn’t specify a mode. Do you take exception to WLC 177 that the sacramental actions are to be diligently observed?

          • Frank Bartles says:

            J-Koerk:
            1. You can’t prove that intincting does not involve drinking. Therefore you can’t prove that an intincting Elder is engaging in an action prohibited by Scripture. If you answer with your appeal to the subjective and anecdotal I’ll simply say this: having intincted in church several times, the congregants I’ve asked identify the action as both eating and drinking.

            2. I have an issue with you invoking our constitution (WLC177) to prohibit a practice not explicitly dealt with by the Scriptures (intinction) while ignoring our constitution (BCO 58-5) to muddy a practice the scriptures plainly illustrate (wine). If you’re going to ask our brother to declare an exception, have you? Has TE Aaron Myers? Should we overture your…

          • Dale Jordan says:

            Re: Jason
            I read byfaithonline.com and I drive my car, but you definitely wouldn’t want me to do both simultaneously on your street. Conjunctions don’t always literally combine actions.
            Re: Frank “You can’t prove that intincting does not involve drinking…”
            When I dip my cookies into my milk, I am not eating and drinking simultaneously; neither when I sop my gravy with my bread. Combining two actions into one may save the cost of cups and wafers, but it dilutes the intent of the scripture and the lessons taught to us and our children, in my opinion.

      • Jim Laymon says:

        I stumbled upon this conversation late, as I searched for more information on Intinction. I must say, having read everything here to date, that Delbert Freeman has an excellent perspective on this–That scripture does not literally spell out, in my reading, that the elements must be separate. It seems to be tradition that has come to this conclusion.

        I imagine that if the disciples were here today to hear this debate about bread, wine, grape juice, and cups, they would laugh and tell us we have lost our way by arguing about these things.

    • Bob Jones says:

      Judy,

      There are few things clearer in Scripture than eating and then drinking for the Lord’s Supper.

      If we accept such an obviously unbiblical practice as intinction, then we are on the road to the PCUSA.

      How can anyone give any Biblical argument for something that is so obviously contrary to the Bible?

      • Donald Codling says:

        I for one do not believe we are given directions for the format of the Lord’s table, in the way the OT church was for its sacraments. When Paul addresses the Lord’s supper in 1 Corinthians 11, he tells us to imitate him as he imitates Christ. He then condemns their approach to the Lord’s supper, not for its format but for the lovelessness which allowed some to gorge themselves to the point that they were drunk, while others went hungry. That’s his concern, not the details of the Lord’s Supper. He then rehearses the things Christ said, pointing to a simple celebration of the supper, in place of their loveless “love feast”.

        • Ernie DeVries says:

          Thank you, Donald. All this discussion condemning any method which does not include actually drinking from a cup has struck me as rather Pharisaical. I think if Paul were here he’d be taking the same approach and saying that the big picture is being missed. Instead, we’re doing the equivalent of arguing over how far you can walk on the Sabbath before it becomes “work”. Jesus was pretty clear on how he felt about the practices of the Pharisees.

  2. Tom Mirabella says:

    Conflating this intinction debate with the liberalism of the PCUSA shows real ignorance of the issue and is disrespectful toward faithful brothers who have chosen to practice it. It grieves me how in our denomination whenever we disagree on something people immediately jump to “this is a slippery slope to becoming the PCUSA!” The pastors I know who practice intinction are among the most Godly, honorable and scripture loving men that I know.

    • Judy Notestine says:

      Let me further explain. For about 3 years I have been meeting weekly with a group of PCUSA members in a “Fourth Day” group that is a followup of their cursillo weekends. I won’t go into detail how that connection happened but it is apparent to me it was not an accident. I try to bring Biblical truth to the group, but most do not agree with me. One issue that concerned me is how they describe communion services they have attended. My mind goes to Nadab and Abihu. I’m sure the pastors of whom you speak are godly men, but that does not mean they cannot err. I don’t think that bringing the PCUSA into the discussion is unreasonable. I’m not a historian, but I think I do enough reading to have some discernment.

  3. Adam Parker says:

    The PCA’s Book of Church Order, 58-5 already excludes intinction. Perhaps those who want to practice intinction should move to have the BCO modified. As it is, they are practicing communion contrary to their own church’s documents.

    • Adam Parker says:

      Adam,

      Precisely. Some spoke and voted against this amendment at GA and in the Presbyteries because they thought it was already sufficiently clear. The grounds given for the amendment was to chairtably assume that the brothers who are practicing intinction would benefit from increased clarity. The rejection of the amendment does not allow intinction. The next step, despite the failure of this clarifying amendment, is to pursue discipline against those who practice this contrary to the Bible and the BCO.

      Jerry

      • Donald Codling says:

        Then I assume you will pursue discipline against those who use grape juice, since both BCO and Confession specify wine.

        • Frank Bartles says:

          BCO specifies wine TWICE.

        • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

          Donald – I won’t, in part for reasons listed above. I believe there is room for reformation in the PCA on the precise nature of the sacramental elements as well, but the Scripture is much clearer over specifying the sacramental actions.

          • Donald Codling says:

            You have not made a case for the action being more clearly specified than the single cup. You pointed out that in Luke they are told to divide it among themselves, but it is pure imagination to lead that to multiple cups. The text says they are all to share of it, just as in the other gospels, where we read, “All of you drink of it.” I would say that if either is more explicit, the common cup is more explicitly commanded than the separate actions. “All of you drink of IT.” He did not command two actions, he just did them, and told us to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of him. But directed the apostles to drink of IT, one cup.

    • Delbert Freeman says:

      Then what is being discussed is a change to the Book of Church Order. Isn’t that something that is to be decided in a democratic fashion?

      If this were a change that would undermine the authority of Scripture, or something equally as serious, I could see all the furor.

      To get all up in arms over a motion to adopt another “mode”, and one held by a large section of the orthodox Church, is a bit of a tempest in a tea cup.

    • James Sharrett says:

      If the BCO already prohibits intinction, then instead of debating passing an amendment to say what is already said, the presbyteries should exercise discipline towards those who are not following the prescribed practices.

  4. Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

    Adam,

    Precisely. Some spoke and voted against this amendment at GA and in the Presbyteries because they thought it was already sufficiently clear. The grounds given for the amendment was to charitably assume that the brothers who are practicing intinction would benefit from increased clarity. The rejection of the amendment does not allow intinction. The next step, despite the failure of this clarifying amendment, is to pursue discipline against those who practice this contrary to the Bible and the BCO.

    Jerry

    • Frank Bartles says:

      This is also startling, Jer!
      I’ve heard and read about these “some people” quite a bit lately. It strains credulity that the 2/3 of presbyters voting against the amendment are in any significant way leveraged by BCO purists! There are a few (David Coffin would be one example), but the vigor of the debate by anti-intinctionists makes your thesis…unlikely. This vote makes one very important statement: you may not redefine orthodoxy in our denomination. It does not approve intinction, rather it does not prohibit it. Boy does it ever not prohibit it.

      For instance, Jerry, did YOU vote against the amendment for this reason? I don’t think so. I believe you had only one voting against the amendment in your presbytery. Was that you

      • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

        Frank – if you were present and listened to the debate in the Overtures Commitee last year, and on the floor of GA, you would know that several men did indeed make this argument. I have no idea how many voted against it based on that as I took no poll, and have seen none.

        I simply disagree with your interpretation of the meaning of this vote, and your assessment of the PCA’s (and more importantly, the Scripture’s) prohibition of this practice.

        I didn’t vote against it for this reason. I voted for it, and my reasoning is well reflected in the grounds sent down to the Presbyteries from the OC Minority report. The Scripture forbids it, and some in our church do it apparently in good conscience, so more clarification would be helpful…

  5. Ernie DeVries says:

    I’ve recently come to the PCA from a lifetime in the Christian Reformed Church so I’m no stranger to church fights, but I was appalled to find that the PCA was arguing over the method of serving the Lord’s Supper. I find that intinction makes the sacrament more meaningful than ever because of the message/response with the servers when partaking. Does taking the juice in this way contradict scripture? I don’t think so. I think the arguments that scripture absolutely mandates “drinking” are missing the point of what the sacrament is all about. What is critical is that we are remembering Christ’s sacrifice and the gift of salvation. The technique is trivial by comparison.

    • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

      Ernie,

      Have you ever wondered why Christ and Paul didn’t practice intinction in the Supper since it makes it “more meaningful than ever”? Do you think they understood the meaning, and practiced a mode that expresses the meaning as intended? Let’s not try to improve on God’s methods of worship. Scripture teaches that it leads to trouble (and sometimes death). Let’s also remember there’s a commandment which deals with this.

      Jesus gives a command to “eat” and “drink.” How did you decide these commands are just suggestions and that the technique is trivial? Paul seemed to find it important enough to deliver to the Corinthians as something he received from the Lord.

  6. Stuart Mizelle says:

    As I’ve talked to some people who are against the revision of the BCO, some are voting against because they think the BCO already forbids intinction. Others voted against the revision, not because they wanted to practice intinction but because they don’t think we should overly regulate the Lord’s Supper. Still others voted against it because they think intinction is fine even if they don’t practice it themselves. And of course, some voted against it because they practice intinction.

    Which leads me to ask this question . . .

    If intinction was not being practiced already in the PCA, and someone at GA brought up the idea just to see what people would think, would there be enough people in favor of it to promote its practice?

    • Robert Berman says:

      That’s a good question, Stuart. For that matter, it would be a great question to ask about pretty much every element of these worship wars. Sitting in pews, looking at the backs of each others’ heads. Standing in a row or a circle. Separate cups. Partaking outside the context of an actual meal. Grape juice. Leavened bread. Intinction. Quarterly observance. Music playing/sung during the administration, or not.

      These discussions ought not to be decided by mere appeal to precedent (PCA or otherwise), and they also ought not to be decided by, “I had a novel experience and found it moving.” It starts rather with a theology of description vs prescription in historical sections of Scripture, then with consistent application of those…

  7. ANDREW BARNES says:

    For some historical quotes,

    Dabney (ST:803), “There is also a significancy in the taking of the wine after the bread, in a distinct act of reception; because it is the blood as separated from the body by death, that we commemorate. Hence the soaking of the bread in the cup is improper, as well as the plea by which Rome justifies communion in one kind; that as the blood is in the body, the bread conveys alone a complete sacrament. As we should commemorate it, the blood is not in the body, but poured out.”

  8. ANDREW BARNES says:

    Hodge (ST.iii.619ff), “From all this it is clear, … (3.) That it is against the nature of the sacrament, when instead of the two elements being distributed separately, the bread is dipped into the wine, and both are received together.”

    And Richard Vines a Westminster Divine: “Bread and Wine severally and asunder, to set forth his death, wherein corpus a sanguine separatum suit, saith Jansenius, his Body and his Blood were sundered. The Papists, as to their Priests and some Kings or Princes, will allow Bread and Wine; but as to the Common People, Bread or Wine they say by concomitancy; the blood is in the bread virtually, and so they shut up the wounds of Christ by their dry Mass…” [continued…]

  9. ANDREW BARNES says:

    [continued Richard Vines quote], “But Christ would represent himself here not as a Lamb, but a Lamb sacrificed and slain; and therefore the blood is severed from the body. As the money is not a prisoner’s ransom while it lies in the chest, but when it’s paid, so the blood of Christ as shed is our ransom. As Israel in the wilderness had a Type of Christ, Manna, which they did eat, and the Rock also of which they drank, so have we the memorials of his Body and Blood, that we may eat and drink.”

  10. Robert Berman says:

    It’s interesting to see the conclusions of those learned men. But in order to assess their ideas in a non-magisterial fashion, their exegesis is what we should discuss.

    • Andrew BARNES says:

      Hey Robert,

      If there is any exegesis, I attempted to give the citation so one can go and look that up. Not really easy to post everything from these men. 🙂 Hope all is well and the Insider Movement Study work is going well.

      Andrew

  11. Ralph Blair says:

    This whole thread reminds me of Screwtape’s advice: “The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood.” Long before that, Jesus warned of those who strain out gnats and swallow camels and miss what really matters. Thank God, most PCA folks understand what matters most.

  12. Luis Padron says:

    I sympathize with the pro-intinction crowd but have one question for them: if neither method is sinful why not simply take the elements separately as is common practice and avoid controversy altogether? Isn’t unity the more important thing to keep in mind?

    • Tom Mirabella says:

      I don’t think that conformity and unity are the same thing. The arguement that since some people are bothered by this practice you just shouldn’t do it seems weak to me. A Baptist gentleman on a blog I read once made the same argument saying that Presbyterians should stop being divisive and just conform with adult only baptism. The folks I know who practice intinction do it because of a Biblical conviction that we should use a common cup. I can’t do justice to their full position, but I respect them enough to know it is not done on a whim or out of a desire to be innovative or provacative.

      • ANDREW BARNES says:

        But by the very practice of intinction, it no longer can be considered ‘communion’ as it is destroying the unity of the body. Not all by good conscience can partake if administered via intinction. Myself being one of those people. I cannot partake via intinction because I have not heard one good biblical defense for the practice. The only thing I have heard is a Lutheran type of defense instead of a Reformed one. Others I know think similarly. So that is another major concern: it is taking away from the unity or ‘communion’ part of the sacrament. Does anyone who is pro-intinction have a problem with administering the Lord’s Supper via non-intinction?

        • Tom Mirabella says:

          It is funny to me that everyone who argues for love and unity then says that the person they disagree with should change their practice. It seems to me that the position of love and unity would be to say, “This is not how I am convicted to celebrate communion, but I can respect those who come to a different conclusion than my own.”

          Perhaps even in humility one could back off from “Here I stand I can do no other” declarations and rejoice in the unity we have as believers in Christ, mutually justified by faith alone and adopted into God’s family, instead of being so concerned with the mode of communion.

        • Donald Codling says:

          When you say intinction is so bad that you cannot in good conscience take part, that is next door to excommunicating those who practise intinction. You are saying they lack one of the elements by which we identify a faithful church.
          If I took your approach, I’d have to say, “If you do not use a common cup, I cannot in good conscience take part in your sacrament.” Jesus presented the element in two actions – no command to do the actions separately. He commanded his followers all to drink from the one cup. “Drink from it, all of you” is a command, and it refers to the cup in singular.
          If the ritual is that important, how do you dare ignore breach of the command by most of our churches, while attacking the few who do not follow the…

      • Luis Padron says:

        I respect that it’s done out of conviction and not whim. Still, since no spiritual benefit is gained from intinction and there is no spiritual loss from taking the elements separately wouldn’t the wiser course be to simply drop the issue rather than risk yet further division among the family of God?
        After all, others will know we’re His by how much we love each other, not by our method of communion. Personal conviction or not, one does not grow any closer to God by dipping or not dipping.

        • Tom Mirabella says:

          Luis, I am having a hard time following your argument. “Other will know we’re His by how much we love each other, not by our method of communion.” Therefore the loving thing is to tell those I disagree with on the method of communion to stop doing it and conform to my preference?

          It seems to me the force of your argument goes the other way to supporting grace and mutual forbearance.

          Again, this reminds me of the Baptist guy’s argument. Presbyterians recognize adult immersion baptism as valid, though not preferred. Baptists don’t recognize infant baptism or non-immersion, therefore for the sake of unity Presbyterians should change their practice to match the Baptist.

          • Jerry Koerkenmeier says:

            Tom,

            Your analogy is flawed because it ignores Luis’ premise: “Still, since no spiritual benefit is gained from intinction and there is no spiritual loss from taking the elements separately…”

            Presbyterians do attach spiritual significance to infant baptism (believing it is commanded by God), and even to the mode preference.

            Do you claim that intinction is either commanded by God or has an inherent spiritual advantage to intinction? Do others make that claim, and can it be sustained?

            Jerry

          • Tom Mirabella says:

            As I said, THIS IS NOT MY POSITION, so I am not claiming either, however, I do know those who practice intinction who do so because of the inherent spiritual advantage they find in the common cup (and they find intinction the best method of practicing common cup).

            Luis’ argument presumes that there is no advantage, just as the Baptist assumes that we see no advantage in infant baptism just because we don’t re-baptize people who join our churches. In both cases the argument is based on a failure to understand the others’ position and to respect the study and prayer which brought them to those convictions.

            Can their arguments be sustained? They certainly feel they can, else they wouldn’t be doing it.

          • Luis Padron says:

            In a perfect world the majority would not force its view of this issue on the minority. And I don’t know that either side can show that either method is of greater spiritual benefit or detriment than the other. Everything I’ve seen and read seems to be about observing this as accurately as possible rather than additional blessings attached to any method.

            But you may be completely right. Perhaps I don’t fully understand the pro intinction argument.
            In matters like these though, I think that loving and bearing with one another is far more important than how I observe communion with bretheren.

  13. Dave Irwin says:

    I’ve heard much on the symbolism of the elements given separately, but not much on the symbolism communicated by the act of intinction. I’ve attended as a guest two services where the Supper was by intinction. Both times I felt, not like a disciple of Jesus partaking, but more like Judas dipping the sop (the “sop” at the Passover meal was a fruit puree mixture, so dipping bread into fruit juice is closer to “dipping the sop” than what many realize.)

    When I visit a church and intinction is practiced, I am placed in a very difficult situation: do I violate my conscience by “dipping the sop,” or do I violate my conscience by abstaining from the Supper when I otherwise ought to partake? It places men of good conscience in a…

    • Tom Mirabella says:

      It seems to me that the connection you are drawing with Judas is a non sequitur. John says that Jesus dipped the bread that he handed to Judas. For that matter, all of the disciples would have dipped bread during the last supper. This doesn’t turn the symbolism of intinction into taking the place of Judas in the supper.

      Just because Judas kissed Jesus, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t smooch my wife.

      There are legitimate reasons to argue against intinction, but I think your appeal to violation of conscience is misplaced here.

      • Delbert Freeman says:

        Tom, your last comment caught my eye and raised the question, “What are the arguments against intinction?” I have heard the “silly stuff,” which is usually based either on fear of the “slippery slope” or the recently developed tradition (as opposed to something a thousand years old, or older). But I have never heard a solid argument against it.

        As a disclaimer, I really do not have a dog in this hunt, but I am curious as to what the arguments would be.

        Deb

    • Donald Codling says:

      Dave, I’d suggest that the symbolism issues are red herrings, because the Bible only affirms that these are covenant symbols of Christ’s death: his broken body and shed blood. The real issue is, “What does God command here?” If you understand that the details of the ritual are commanded, yes, you may have a problem of conscience with intinction, but you have a more obvious problem of conscience with the use of multiple cups. Every reference refers to a singular cup, and Jesus commands his disciples all to drink of it. In my opinion, what we are commanded is to observe the Lord’s supper in memory of Christ, not how to go about it. The how to go about it rules of the OT ended with Christ.