The United Methodist Church: The Lord’s Supper


The Methodist Church:

The Lord’s Supper or Communion

Part 12


methodist communion

The Lord’s supper or communion

  1. The Lord’s supper in the United Methodist Church is defective.

Apart from the meaning of the bread and cup, the Methodist movement has not given communion its rightful place.  For instance, at the beginning of the Methodist association, “the Lord’s Supper was celebrated infrequently, usually quarterly, partly because of the scarcity of ordained elders.”[i]

What about today?  There is no uniform answer to this question.  The following two answers give some insight into the UMC practice:

The United Methodist Church recommends Communion be served frequently. A recent resolution recommends weekly celebration of Communion. In practice, while more churches are moving to weekly communion, most churches celebrate Communion once a month. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, recommended receiving The Lord’s Supper as often as one could.

Another answer

It depends on the Methodist Church and the member. Some churches still have communion infrequently (monthly or less) and some members still only receive communion on special occasions (such as Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and so on). However, as stated above, many Methodist Churches are increasing the frequency of receiving communion, or ‘The Lord’s Supper’. This will bring them more into line with the Anglican Church (where communion is usually weekly) as a result of the Anglican/Methodist Covenant that makes the promise that the two denominations should work more closely together in the future, possibly resulting, one day, in a united Church.[ii]

Increasingly, the UMC is celebrating the Lord’s supper more often, even every week:

Some congregations celebrate communion on the first Sunday of the month and a few celebrate it only quarterly. A growing number of congregations celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion on a weekly basis, as John Wesley himself encouraged his followers to practice. In adopting the statement on Holy Communion entitled This Holy Mystery in 2004, the General Conference of the Church urged congregations to move toward weekly celebration of communion and to use the official liturgies of the church when doing so.[iii]

At least two issues could be raised. First, the early Christians broke bread (partook of the supper) each first day of the week (a study of Acts 20:7 will reveal this practice).  It was a regular remembrance, done often (cf. 1 Corinthians11:17, 18, 20, 33, 34 and the purpose of their “coming together”). Second, a “scarcity of elders” is not excuse for not having the remembrance.  Christians can break bread wherever they meet and regardless of whether elders or overseers are present.

One additional point may be notice. The UMC practices what is called “open communion,” in which the bread and cup are given to anyone who wishes to partake.[iv] This is in direct violation of Scripture that limits participation to people who have repented and been baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38-41 with v. 42). Further, the Lord’s supper—or the “breaking of bread”—is only for those whom the Lord has “added” to the Christian fold (Acts 2:42-47). Biblical breaking of bread is also limited to those saints who are walking in holiness and not participating in known, deliberate sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:11). And surely participation is limited to those who hold a Biblical faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 9-11).

This is only one of a number of negatives that we discover in the United Methodist Church. Dear Methodist friend, please wake up and take God’s Word seriously.

Check also another article about the United Methodist Church:

[i] Ibid., p. 593.

[ii] Methodists_receive_communion_each_ year.


[iv] Ibid.

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