Hank Jensen
by on September 20, 2021
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Reposted from Bible-Brain


Which is the proper way to take communion? With leavened bread, or unleavened? This was a question posed by a member of a Facebook group I'm involved in. The poll had 3 answers: 1. Unleavened, because Christ is without sin. 2. Leavened, because Christ is risen. 3. It doesn't matter.

After much thought, my answer was 3. When I read 2 Timothy 3:16-17, I come to the conclusion that, since scripture thoroughly equips us for every good work, anything scripture does not thoroughly equip us for (or against if we're speaking about sin) is left entirely to the individual. To my knowledge, scripture does not weigh in on the type of bread that must be eaten during a communion service. I even followed this up with Romans 14, which talks about dietary habits. The long and short of that particular chapter is you must eat that which conforms with your personal faith. If you think it's right to eat something, eat it. If you think it's wrong, it is actually wrong, simply because "...whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14:23).

Now, I may well be wrong in this regard. It is possible that there is a scripture I am simply unaware of that says communion must be done with a particular type of bread and wine. In that case, Romans 14 does not actually apply, and it does matter what kind of bread is used. But to my knowledge, such a scripture does not exist.

After I had given my answer, I was curious to see what others had said, and so I read the comments. It didn't seem many of them took the leavened bread answer. Many of them believed it didn't matter. A few, without justification, said the bread must be unleavened. One of them, however, gave an answer I feel is worthy of both consideration, yet with a little correction. Sadly, due to poor planning on my part, I did not save the comment, and though I have dug through the group looking for it, I have not been able to find the post. I can, however, give the gist of the comment, and will attempt to represent it as fairly as possible.

The comment began as a response to a comment further up the thread. One person had answered that it could have been Kool Aid and Wonder Bread, what matters is the remembrance of Christ's body, broken for us, and His blood, shed for us. So he began by saying this is way too far. From there, he criticised our modern culture for being too self-centred. These days, we all tend to believe we can worship God our way, when in reality we should be worshipping God His way.

I fully agree. As I often point out, God gave us scriptures, not a notebook. Had He intended us to worship Him our way, He would have given us a book to write in. Instead, He gave us a book to read. Thus, going back to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, what His book says, we have no option but to obey.

But going back to Romans 14, we actually can worship our way. Not with regard to God's direct commands, but with regard to His silence. When God says "flee fornication"

(1 Corinthians 6:18), that is not an option, or a creative suggestion, or a polite request. That is a command. Therefore, you can't say "well, I think it's totally acceptable to sleep with your significant other if you've been dating for 90 days". Repent if you've sinned, obey if you haven't.

Returning to the issue of communion, however, the command is not so clear. It doesn't say "flee leavened bread". In fact, think of it this way: The command is "do this in remembrance of Me". "Not so, Lord, for we only have access to leavened bread". Well, now you're breaking the Lord's command. If the Lord says "do this", the Church that does it is technically the Church obeying Him the most.

Barring the existence of an anti-leaven verse I'm not aware of, scripture does not specify that communion bread must be leavened. In fact, scripture does not specify a lot of things we take for granted. There is no command to host worship services on Sunday (or even have a building we call "church"). There is no command to celebrate Christmas, or Easter. In fact, comparing your classical Nativity scene to scripture will tell us just how much we, as Christians, have added to scripture over the centuries. What this tells us is that even if you are trying your very best to worship God in a way that is not your own, you are inevitably worshipping Him in a way that is someone else's. See, if God did not say "the bread must be unleavened", then man said "the bread must be unleavened". But every man has equal right to speak where God did not.

For reasons best left to Himself, God has left many blank spaces for us to fill in. Some of them, He very explicitly tells us are ours to fill in. We may eat what we want, we may celebrate what we want, we may marry if we want, God will lay no burden upon us in these regards. Make your plans, and allow Him to direct your steps. Other times, though God does not explicitly say we can do as we please, the fact that He leaves scripture so widely open to multiple valid interpretations implicitly tells us we are free to take any one of them. Otherwise, scripture could not be said to thoroughly equip us for every good work. It could either be said to thoroughly equip us for some good works, or to only partially equip us for every good work.

Though I springboarded from the issue of leavened bread in communion, this concept applies to many other issues. Ultimately, a good rule of thumb is this: Anything not explicitly forbidden is implicitly allowed, and anything not explicitly commanded is implicitly optional. We should always seek to worship God His way, but as with any parent-child relationship, sometimes your way is God's way. You honor God by being yourself, seeking to obey Him, rather than conforming your worship to the traditions of even your most faithful brothers and sisters.

Following the scriptures, we see that the Spirit unites the brethren even in our differences. We should all consider each other, as individuals. Our consciences are quite diverse, and so the solution is for the stronger brethren to act as weaker brethren, yet for the weaker brethren not to judge the stronger. In the case of communion, those who answer either 1 or 2 should not judge the other camp. If you think the bread should be unleavened, eat unleavened, and do not judge those who eat leavened. If you believe it should be leavened, eat leavened, and do not judge those who eat unleavened. If you don't think it matters, I don't see why you would judge anyone, but for sake of the conscience of your brethren, eat that which they serve, and if it comes down to you to serve, serve that which they eat. All of us will stand or fall before our common Master: God, and He will make us stand. Let not our faith become a stumbling block. Let us instead unite, and bring God the glory He deserves.

Posted in: MEANING
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