Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 12, 1970

The Lord's Day: Binding Or Not?

A Review Of An Article Regarding The Frequency Of Observance Of The Lord's Supper.

Marshall Norman

After reading the latest article by brother Pierce in which he says, "There is no authorization nor binding obligation set forth in the Scriptures for the Lord's supper to be observed, and the contribution to be made to the church, on the first day of the week", I am made to wonder to what extent our brother has studied the Bible and church history? Permit me to give some quotations from a very famous book, "The Christian System" by Alexander Campbell, pages 274-287:

"Prop. The breaking of the one loaf, and the joint participation of the cup of the Lord in commemoration of the Lord's death, usually called the `Lord's Supper' is an instituted part of the worship and edification of all Christian congregations in all their stated meetings. Argument one: The first Christian congregation which met in Jerusalem and was constituted by the twelve apostles did as statedly attend upon breaking the loaf in their public meetings, as they did upon any other part of the Christian worship. Acts 2:42: 'They church history? Permit me to give some quota-continued steadfast in the breaking of the loaf.' Ought not we then to continue as steadfast in the breaking of the loaf as in the teachings of the Apostles? 2. The apostles taught the churches to do all the Lord commanded. Whatever then the churches did by the appointment or concurrence of the Apostles, they did by the commandment of Jesus Christ. Whatever acts of religious worship the apostles taught and sanctioned in one Christian congregation, they taught and sanctioned in all Christian congregations, because they are all under the same government of one and the same King. So therefore: In Acts 20:7 the church at Troas met upon the first day of the week to partake of the Lord's supper, and thus all the churches met upon the first day of the week for this specific purpose. Let us look closely at Acts 20:7. (1) That it was an established custom or rule for the disciples to meet together on the first day of the week. (2) That the primary object was to break the loaf. Now, all who would learn the meaning of words concerning Acts 20:7 must confess that the meeting of the disciples and the breaking of the loaf are in the same respective terms.

"Third: from the 2nd chapter of Acts we learn that the breaking of the loaf was a stated part of the worship of the disciples in their meetings, and from the 20th chapter we learn the frequency. Let us then look at I Cor. 16:2. 'On the first day of every week" is kata mian Sabbaton which is rendered first day of every week. Argument Three - The congregation in Corinth met every first day of the first day of every week for the express purpose of showing forth the Lord's death. And the exact import of the Apostle in chapter 11 verse 20 of 1st Corinthians is this, 'When you assemble thus, it is not to eat the Lord's supper.' Thus we see that the saints met every first day in Corinth and when they assembled in one place it was to eat the Lord's supper. And back to I Cor. 16:2, every linguist will admit that kata polin means every city, kata menan is every month, kata ecclesian every church, and therefore in the same usage, kata mian Sabbaton means the first day of every week. Argument four: Acts 2:42 is called to klase tou artou the breaking of the loaf, a name at the time of his writing universally understood. But to break a loaf or to break bread was phrase common among the Jews to denote ordinary eating for refreshment. For example see Acts 2:26. But when an established usage is referred to, the article or some definite term ascertains what is alluded to: it is not common bread. Thus, Acts 2:42, and Acts 20:7 is explained by Paul in I Cor. 10:16 'The loaf (artoux) which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ.' Thus the loaf is the rememberance of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Because upon the loaf and upon the cup of the Lord in letters which speak to the heart of every disciple is inscribed, `When you see this, remember me.' Thus when Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:20 and I Cor. 16: 1-2 are compared together it appears that we act under the influence of apostolic teaching and precedent when we meet every Lord's day for the breaking of the loaf. But this is still further demonstrated by another fact.

"No argument can be adduced from the New Testament to show that any Christian congregation assembled on the first day of the week, unless for the breaking of the loaf. Let one example from the New Testament be adduced to show any day (other than the first day of the week) that any Christian congregation met to break the loaf. Till this is done, a denial of it is futile in the extreme?'

The argument then is this: Christians have no authority, nor or under any obligation, to meet on any day, except the Lord's day, the first day of the week, for the express purpose of showing forth the Lord's death in the Lord's supper, and to attend to those means of edification and comfort connected with it.

Question: If it be not the duty and privilege of every Christian congregation to assemble on the first day of every week to show forth the Lord's death, it will be impossible to show either Scripture to show any other day for this solemn purpose.

Again: Spiritual health, as well as corporal health, is dependent on food. Is there no analogy between natural and moral life, between natural and moral health? And if there be, does it not follow that if the early disciples only enjoyed good spiritual health when they assembled weekly to show forth the Lord's death--what other day can suffice such an occasion?

Let us finally look at some other authority or comments on the passage of Acts 20:7. Dr. Scott in his valuable commentary says this concerning Acts 20:7: "Breaking of bread, or commemorating the death of Christ, was one chief end of their assembling; this ordinance seems to have been constantly administered every Lord's day, and no professed Christian absented themselves from it, after they were in the church, unless they lay under some censure, or had some real hindrance." Mason's Letters on Frequent Communion states this: "Communion every Lord's day was universal, and was preserved in the Greek church till the seventh century, and such as neglected it three weeks together were excommunicated."

I could call a cloud of witnesses to the fact of the Lord's day and the communion of the saints and there is much plainness and evidence found in the New Testament on the weekly celebration of Lord's supper and of the necessity of such. But I think it is unnecessary and shall add this one fact taken again from the writings of Mr. Campbell in the Christian Baptist, 2nd edition, page 254 in proof of my plea: "All antiquity is on the side of the disciples meeting every first day to break the loaf."

Therefore I can see no scriptural reason for brother Pierce's assertion--there is much evidence on the side of the disciples and of the New Testament for the breaking of the Loaf and for the frequency concerning the first day of the week. May I in closing offer a kind suggestion to our friends, read, "The Lord's Day" by D. M. Canright.

My sincere hope in writing this answer to brother Pierce's article is not to stir up an argument but a plea that we use the Bible for our final authority and all the evidence is on the side of the disciples in the fact that the Lord's supper and the contribution was taken every first day of the week. Let us speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.

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