The Forum

The Forum

This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.

Dear Brother:

One is much surprised at the answer given in the Forum of the May Number, especially with the latter part and its conclusion.

It is well known that the expression “the cup” is a figure of speech called metonymy, signifying its contents. We are not left in doubt as to what this is — as the writer says, “It is indicated by our Lord’s subsequent words,” “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine.” As the word “wine” is never used in Scripture in regard to the contents of the cup, we may not be too dogmatic as to whether or not fermented wine is meant. It is known also that in the keeping of the Passover Feast in ancient times a liquid produced by the boiling of raisins was used. The bread (or loaf) used was an unleavened wafer. However, bread (artos) is the usual term for the so-called staff of life, and is used by the Lord at the institution of “the feast” (Matt. 26:26). Consequently, it is scripturally called “The Breaking of Bread” (Acts 2:24; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23).

Now, there most certainly are circumstances envisaged in the Word in which a disciple or disciples (walking in fellowship with the Lord) would not be able to “break Bread.”

1. A single or solitary disciple must perforce abstain.

2. A single sister or any number of sisters would obediently refrain.

3. So scripturally, if for any reason or circumstances “the fruit of the vine” is not procurable, it would not seem to be in the will of the Lord to begin with a substitute. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

The watering down or away (the diluting) of the element of any ordinance opens the way to the departure from the scriptural observance of the other i.e. baptism. If “the fruit of the vine” could be interpreted as water then an equally good exegesis would be that the amount of water in baptism is immaterial, it may be sprinkling, pouring, or immersing in the liquid. Such an exposition of the Scriptures is associated with much heresy and error.

May the Lord sustain you in your service for Him!

Fervently through grace,
—M.B. Mac