Larry Ray Hafley

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Contending for the Faith

Methodists OK Weekly Communion

The headline read, "Weekly Communion Backed." The article said, "Although many Protestants celebrate communion monthly or quarterly, a study committee of the United Methodist Church has endorsed weekly observance....The committee said weekly practice would enrich worship and fit the practice of Methodist founder John Wesley, though it does not plan to seek legislation mandating it, United Methodist News Service reported" (Houston Chronicle, 2/16/02, 4F).

Imagine that-Methodists eventually may forsake a common Protestant practice and actually break bread as those non-Methodist, New Testament disciples did (Acts 20:7)! What's more, the "weekly practice" would not only "fit the practice of Methodist founder, John Wesley," but it also would "fit the practice" of the church of Christ's founder, Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:42; 20:7).

And what next? Bishops in every local church (Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:5, 7; 1 Pet. 5:2)? (Methodists have bishops; they just do not have them "in every church.") This "weekly communion" thing could get out of hand and start a trend! Could we expect to wake up someday and find that a Methodist "study committee" had "endorsed weekly" contribution, too (1 Cor. 16:2)?

It may be too much to hope that (1) some future "study committee" might propose that the options of sprinkling and pouring for baptism might be removed from the Methodist Discipline; that (2) it might delete the infamous line from that same book, "Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort" (Cf. Jas. 2:14-26-"not by faith only"), and that (3) the name, "United Methodist Church," will be laid aside because it does not "fit the practice" of the New Testament?

Will a "study committee" learn that it has no more right than does the Pope to either "legislate" or "mandate" any practice in service to Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:23)? If so, where would such learnings lead? To a church patterned after that one described, designed, and defined in the New Testament? We can dream.

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