Recommendation: The Lord's Supper: Eternal Word in Broken Bread by Robert Letham


Robert Letham, The Lord's Supper in Broken Bread (Philipsburg: P&R, 2001)

Robert Letham's short book (only 75 pages) is a great, readable and understandable overview of the Lord's Supper. Letham looks at the Bible, church history, Reformed Theology and church practice, covering both the theological and the practical.

Letham writes from a Presbyterian perspective, so some of what he has to say may seem somewhat unusual for Pentecostal readers. After all, paedo-communion (giving the Lord's Supper to babies and children) is probably not going to ever be an issue in churches which practice credo-baptism (i.e. that baptise believers, not babies).  At least I hope not. (By the way, Letham is against paedo-communion, just in case you're wondering). As a Presbyterian, he also takes time to look at the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) regarding the Lord's Supper; but don't be tempted into thinking this bit can be skipped if you're not a Presbyterian. The WCF contains some very good teaching on this particular sacrament and Letham's exposition is well worth reading.

The great value of Letham is that he advocates a Calvinistic (Spiritual Presence) theology of the Breaking of Bread (which, I hope to demonstrate in my paper to be delivered on Friday at the Theological Positions Colloquium at CTS, is, historically, also the Apostolic view).  Other writers on the sacrament often either make the Calvinistic view seem incredibly complicated, or else seem to misunderstand or ignore it. Letham presents it in Biblical simplicity.  In fact, this is the best introduction to the Spiritual Presence view of the Eucharist that I have yet seen.

The book is eminently readable. I sat down to read it on Sunday afternoon and read through the whole thing in one sitting (without even a cup of tea).

Highly Recommended.

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The Tenets of the Apostolic Church

The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming, and millennial reign upon earth.

Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.

The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.

The possibility of falling from grace.

The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.