A Student’s Guide to the Lord’s Supper, Introduction

The following very brief chapters will be uploaded dealing with the Lord’s Supper. We have used this small booklet to instruct our covenant children about the Lord’s Supper. It is written to prepare them to become communicant members. Of course, it does not mean that each child will necessarily become a communicant member since each one is examined after the class. I am presenting a Reformed view of the Lord’s Supper and NOT a Calvinian view (because he is not necessarily the best exponent of the position).

A Student’s Guide to the Lord’s Supper
by Pastor Mark Herzer

Chapter 1
Introduction to the Lord’s Supper

Chapter 2
Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 3
Do we all believe the same thing about the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 4
What is the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 5
What happens during the Lord’s Supper? (1)

Chapter 6
What happens during the Lord’s Supper? (2)

Chapter 7
How do I prepare for the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 8
What should I do during the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 9
What should I do after the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 10
When will we stop eating the Lord’s Supper?

An Introduction for Parents

This is a small booklet for churches that believe children are part of the visible church. Baptists may appreciate some of these chapters but not all of them. But I write as a Presbyterian minister for parents and elders of local congregations. There are many books on the Lord’s Supper and many of them are very useful. Yet, having read several of them, I began to realize that most of them were too difficult to understand for young children. What I mean by “young children” is the group of children up to twelve years old. Those children simply cannot understand or read the “big” books or booklets on the Lord’s Supper. Desirous of seeing something they could use, I have endeavored to write such a manual.

The goal of this booklet is to teach what the Bible teaches regarding the Lord’s Supper. Having researched and labored over this academically for years, I arrived at a position that should be acceptable to most Presbyterians. Without explaining all the positions, there are at least five views, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinian, Zwinglian, and Presbyterian. Most Reformed Christians have misunderstood Calvin and have similarly assumed that their own positions were the same as Calvin’s. Calvin is remarkably closer to Luther than Zwingli. I am convinced that in the end, Calvin and Luther were not as far apart from each other. The biggest difference between the two had to do with the actual presence of Christ’s body; it was not over the actual reception of Christ’s flesh (Calvin believed we received “vivifying flesh”). Zwingli, on the other hand, is closer to the Reformed view. His earlier views were strictly memorialistic but his more mature position before his death suggests that he did not believe in a bare sign. Some statements in his writings are more congenial to the traditional Presbyterian view. I cannot, in this introduction, argue what I have just asserted but wanted to “show my hand” early on lest I be faulted for being less than forthcoming. I write as a Presbyterian. I hope I have not lost the reader. These names, labels, positions, etc. are not the substance of this booklet.

This booklet is designed for young children. If they are advanced enough to read on their own then they should be able to work through this. If they cannot yet read well enough, then this booklet can be read out aloud to them. What they will learn is an explanation of why they could not participate, why they might be able to participate, and what actually “happens” during the Lord’s Supper. Some of the great misunderstandings in this area have brought about much ambivalence, awkwardness, and at times fear for many Christians. It is this apprehension I wish to overcome through this booklet. Since the Lord’s Supper is often viewed too mystically I have written this very plainly. Mysteries may be involved in the Lord’s Supper but it should not be viewed as a mystery.

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