Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

In this post, I explain what is my current view of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the life of an individual believer (sanctification) and in the life of the church (ecclesiology). I defend my position exegetically, theologically, and historically, where appropriate.

Baptism

When it comes to baptism, my view is baptism should be practiced by believers and incorporates a public confession of the Trinitarian Faith (Matt 28:19), a personal association with Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4), repentance from a life of sin (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor. 6:11), a pledge to live a sanctified life (1 Pet. 3:21), a rite of initiation into the covenant community (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27), and a mark of official community forgiveness where needed (Acts 26:18).[1]

The biblical imperative comes from Matthew 28:19-20, where Jesus gives the Great Commission, as said baptism is to be directed to disciples, his followers, who are competent to be trained to obey his commands. The very instinctive interpretation of this text leads to the inference these beneficiaries of baptism are disciples who are adept at examining the Word of Christ, knowing it, and reacting dutifully to it. Consequently, the church is supplied with the need to baptize disciples of Jesus Christ.

Next, this preliminary backing can be increased to a crucial pronouncement: repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ, by which the gospel is adopted, is an essential precondition to baptism. The biblical necessity of the Great Commission mandates the inference the proper beneficiaries of baptism are individuals who have received the good news, repented of their sins, and trusted in Christ for salvation.

Third, believer’s baptism is backed by the record of the early church. The original ritual of this tradition was the baptism of fresh converts. Moreover, this approach stayed in the church’s routine for centuries; in fact, it was not till the fifth century that pedobaptism befell the formal way of administrating this ritual.[2]

The Lord’s Supper

When it comes to the Lord’s Supper, my view is the Zwinglian memorial view. One of the main claims contrary to transubstantiation depends on Augustine’s importance that Christ’s body is situated at the right hand of God the Father. Christ’s physical body is not in many locations at the same time, and hence cannot be present in the Supper.[1] Furthermore, Jesus’ phrases that introduced the Lord’s Supper must not be taken literally, but figuratively. This is proved, by Christ’s own comments in John 6:63: “The flesh profits nothing” (cf. NASB). Considering this declaration, the phrase “This is my body” cannot be realized literally. The physical body of Christ would be of no help. I agree with Zwingli and Cornelius Hoen that a clearer interpretation of “This is my body” would be “This signifies my body.”[2] Furthermore, instantly after Jesus said, “This my body”, he includes, “Do this in remembrance of me,” meaning the bread is just a memorial of his body to remind us in the Supper the body was crucified for us. As a memorial, the crucial point of the ritual of the Lord’s Supper is reminiscing what Christ achieved on the cross, and this involves faith. It is God’s promise of his faithfulness.


[1] Huldrych Zwingli, An Exposition of the Faith, in Zwingli and Bullinger, trans. And ed. G. W. Bromiely, Library of Christian Classics 24 (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1979), 254-256.

[2] Gregg R. Allison, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 379.


[1] Michael Svigel, “Embracing the Elephant—Toward a Fuller Doctrine and Practice of Water Baptism (Part 1 of 3),” RetroChristianity, January 09, 2013, accessed July 20, 2021, http://www.retrochristianity.org/2013/01/09/embracing-the-elephant-toward-a-fuller-doctrine-and-practice-of-water-baptism-part-1-of-3/

[2] Gregg R. Allison, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 342.

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