G. C. Brewer’s Review of “The Cup of The Lord”
Answered by J. D. Phillips - Number 5
“6. One Loaf and One Cup. - The author of the tract says that in using one loaf and one cup we show the unity of Christ’s body. Christ’s body is one, of course, and Paul says that “we being many are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one bread.” Phillips says: “‘A loaf’ (Matthew 26:26) is explained by Paul (1 Corinthians 10:17) to be ‘one loaf’ (heis arton). ‘A cup’ (Matthew 26:27) is explained by Ignatius to be ‘one cup’.” (Page 24.)”
Yes, “one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:17) is a symbol of the church’s unity. “Because there is one loaf,” says Paul, “we ought to consider the whole congregation as one body.” So reads the Living Oracles New Testament One “cup” shows forth “the unity” of Christ’s blood. So taught Ignatius in the first and second centuries.
“It is a pity to disillusion anyone who has made such exhaustive research, but the truth of all this lies on the surface in the language of Paul and of Ignatius. A few questions will enable all to see it.”
If you can “disillusion” me with the truth, go to it, brother, for the truth is what I want. “The truth shall make you free,” says Christ.
“When Paul said, “we being many are one bread, one body,” did he mean the disciples at Corinth composed this one bread, one body, or did he mean that all Christians compose this one bread, one body? Were the disciples at Rome, at Ephesus, at Troas, at Philippi, etc., also a part of this one bread, one body?”
Yes, Paul meant to teach that each assembly in Corinth (if there were more than one assembly there) should have “a loaf” and “a cup,” for that is the way our Lord delivered it to him, and the way he delivered it to Corinth. See Matthew 26:26-28 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-28. Rome, Ephesus, Troas and Philippi each had “a loaf” and “a cup,” and to each assembly the loaf and the cup symbolized unity.
“Well, when Paul said in the next clause, “for we all partake of the one bread” - one loaf - did he mean that only the disciples at Corinth partook of the one bread - one loaf - or did he mean that all Christians partook of the one bread - one loaf? Did the children of God at Corinth partake of one bread, and the children of God at Rome partake of another bread, and the children of God at Philippi partake of still another bread; or loaf? Was the loaf that they ate at the different places a different loaf? Certainly not; they all - all God’s children then and now - partook and partake of the one bread - one loaf - and drink of the one cup. But any sane person knows that the brethren at Corinth and at Rome did not eat from the same literal loaf - same piece of bread - or drink out of the same literal vessel on the first day of the week. They had a loaf and a cup at Corinth, and a loaf and a cup at Rome, and yet they all ate the one loaf and drank the one cup. The number of literal loaves and literal cups used had nothing at all to do with it. It is now one loaf and one cup with the disciples of Christ all over the world. They may be in ten thousand different places and may use a million different literal pieces of bread and literal cups, but they all partake of one bread and drink of one cup.”
All Christians in an assembly should, and, in apostolic times, did, “partake of that one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:17). Macknight pointed out the fact, a century ago, that when arton has a numeral before it should be rendered “loaf,” not bread. Thus, we read “five loaves,” not five breads; three loaves, not three breads; “a (one) loaf” (Matthew 26:26), not a bread. From the very nature of a loaf, two or more congregations, a hundred miles apart, cannot partake of the same loaf. They can, and do, partake of the same kind of a loaf, but not the same loaf.
“The language of Ignatius quoted in the tract shows that this is his meaning also. (See. pages 24-29.) He says: “Take ye heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to (show forth) the unity of His blood,” etc. And as quoted on page 29: “For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His blood which He shed for us is one. One loaf is broken for all, and one cup is distributed among them all.” And again: “Wherefore let it be your endeavor to partake all of the same holy Eucharist. For there is but one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the unity of His blood.””
Ignatius speaks of “one Eucharist.” Paul describes it as “that which the Lord delivered unto” him. 1 Corinthians 11. Bro. Brewer’s “eucharist” is another, and different thing.
“Notice here that Ignatius speaks of one Eucharist each time, which means one Lord’s Supper. He did not want those to whom he wrote to have a different, a corrupted or divided, Lord’s Supper. All the disciples to whom he wrote ate of one bread and drank of one cup even though they were in different congregations thousands of miles apart. Notice also that he speaks of “distributing” the cup. Did they distribute a literal cup? How? By grinding it to powder?”
The context in which Ignatius’ language occurs indicates that he means that all in an assembly were to eat at the same table, each drinking of the one cup, and eating of the one loaf. To use loaves and cups in each assembly is the very token of division. Bro. Brewer’s interpretation destroys the literalness of the symbolism, as indicated in both the New Testament and Ignatius, and substitutes a mystical idea that leads to a nullification of all symbolism, and the necessity therefor. If a plurality of loaves and cups symbolize the “one Eucharist” and “one loaf” and “one cup,” then away with our opposition to triune immersion, and the advocacy of “one baptism.”
Yes, each church had “a loaf” and “a cup.” The word “church” is used in the local sense to denote a single congregation; it is used in the general sense to denote the entire body of Christ, composed of all Christians. The record does not say nor imply that all “churches of Christ” partook of the same loaf and the same cup. The Bible provides for “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), and it provides for “a loaf” and “a cup” for each; but it does not provide for loaves and cups, for each. This is what Paul meant, and what Ignatius meant.
“Regarding Ignatius, Phillips tells us that he was ordained Bishop - a capital B - Bishop - by the apostle Peter. Ordained Bishop of what, please? Was he simply one of the bishops of a local congregation - the only kind of bishop the Bible knows anything about - or did Pope Peter ordain him Bishop of a province or a metropolis? There is very little known of Ignatius, and this Peter ordaining him Big-B Bishop is a Roman Catholic fiction. But Phillips is willing to swallow the hierarchy in order to appear to sustain his hobby. What do men care for a monstrous ecclesiasticism or the usurpations and corruptions of papery when they are wedded to a silly hobby? All Pharisees in all ages will strain out gnats and swallow camels.”
Of course, “bishop”, when applied to Ignatius, should begin with a small “b”. This mistake was made by a copyist, who made several copies of the manuscript of the tract before it was finally printed. The printers followed one of her copies, and thus they used the big “B” when it should have been the little “b.” Bro. Brewer ought to thank my copyist for making this mistake, for about the only point he has made in his review is based on her mistype.
But his remarks about the big “B” proves nothing against his being an elder, bishop, or overseer. Whether it was Peter that ordained him (as history says), or someone else, amounts to but little so far as the argument is concerned. It is enough to know that he was an elder while several of the apostles were living.
The “Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge,” p. 434, says, “Ignatius of Antioch, one of the Apostolic Fathers, martyred early in the second century (A. D. 107, to be exact J. D. P.), at Rome. He was bishop of Antioch for forty years.” 40 from 107 leaves 67, and hence, if he was bishop at the time of his death, he must have been ordained about the year 67. Continuing, the same work says, “He prefaced his quotations with ‘it is written’,” thus showing his love for the truth. Again, “The central idea of the Epistles of Ignatius may be expressed in the words ‘One Faith’.” Again, “The Eucharist is with him the center of Christian worship.”
“But there is yet another angle to this one-bread and one- cup symbolism. The tract says that the one loaf - one literal piece of bread - and one cup - one literal drinking vessel - show the unity of Christ’s body. But Phillips and his misguided cooperants - do they break the one loaf into different pieces and put the pieces upon separate plates before they are passed to the audience? If so, does that destroy the symbol of unity? If not, why would it destroy the symbol of unity to pour the fruit of the vine into different cups before it is passed to the audience? Why? If it is necessary for all the members to sip the wine from the rim of a single cup, why is it not necessary for all the members to pinch or bite from the edge of a single piece of bread? There is one loaf, you know. If you can divide the loaf into two or more portions and still have one loaf, why can you not divide the cup into two or more portions and still have one cup? Why?”
The tract speaks of “one loaf,” but “one loaf” does not mean “one literal piece of bread,” as you claim. No, we do not break the loaf into sections and put each on a separate plate. This is more of your digressive foolishness. This would be the very token of division. The New Testament requires each to break the loaf. Hence, the disciples of Troas “came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7), not to watch someone else break it! “The loaf which we break” (1 Corinthians 10:16). Your idea that Jesus broke the loaf into halves, or that He broke it into individual pieces, is out of harmony with both reason and revelation. We follow the Scriptures on this, as on other matters.
“Here is another thought that should have great weight with the author of the tract; it is exactly on his plane. When our Lord gave thanks for the loaf, He broke it. Paul says we break the loaf. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17.) And according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:24 in the King James and some other translations, our Lord said, “This is my body, which is broken for you”; hence, the breaking of the loaf before it is given to the disciples is symbolical of the breaking of Christ's body. (No bone of his body was broken, but the skin was broken, and the flesh lacerated and mutilated, and in that way the body was certainly broken.) Now, when Christ gave them the cup, He said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.” This… which is poured out. If we break the loaf to indicate the breaking of His body, why should we not pour out the wine in order to indicate the pouring out of His blood? In fact, did not Christ pour it out to them as he uttered that sentence? Why not assume that He did and then contend for the assumption?”
Yes, our Lord broke the loaf, and “the breaking of bread,” like our “taking tea,” is used, by idiom, of eating. And the leading linguist of Harvard University says, “He broke” means that He ‘broke and ate,’ of the loaf. It is a form of the Hebrew idiom, paras lechem, and this from the Aramaic perith lechem, and this from the older Aramaic basac, each of which means ‘to break, and eat.’
A learned Jewish Rabbi, of Kansas City, told me that the Orientals, from time immemorial, have considered that to eat the same, loaf together and to drink from the same cup, in a social or religious service, signified an agreement, a compact, or covenant, and united them as one body. Christ evidently alludes to this idea in Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25. Paul, perhaps, alludes to it in 1 Corinthians 10:17.
It is true that the King James Version and a few Greek manuscripts (but not the best ones) read, “this is my body which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24), but the meaning is ‘This loaf signifies (Greek: esti) my body which is broken for you.”
The fact that the disciples “came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7), shows that it was not already broken into fragments, and that more than one leader “broke the loaf.” By breaking the loaf as commanded, the breaking of Christ’s body is sufficiently symbolized, and by passing it all together, to those present, the unity of His body, and of the church, is symbolized, and yet “the disciples break” it for themselves. Thus, the word of God is satisfied, by doing “that which is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6).
The wine in the cup signifies His blood “which is shed” - “is poured out” - and this is all the symbolism that is necessary. If the Book said to pour it out of one vessel into another, we would do it. If it said He poured it into other vessels as He said, “This my blood which is poured out,” we would do that. But this is another one of my brother’s assumptions - an assumption that lacks Scriptural support.
J. D. Phillips