Okay, Eucharist is not a word very much in vogue among Pentecostals, but I'm going to use it anyway. After all eucharist simply means 'thanksgiving', so there is nothing wrong with the word, and it's a simple one word way of referring to my topic. So from now on this series of posts on an Apostolic theology of the Breaking of Bread (8 words), will be referred to as Apostolic Eucharist (2 words, and much more catchy for the title of a blog post).
Now that that little bit of administration is out of the way, let's get back on topic.
In the last post I said I would talk a bit about Zwinglian Memorialism, Calvinistic Spiritual Presence and the Apostolics. Now, if you've read the first post in the series as well, you might be able to guess the direction in which I'm about to go.
The quotations from D.P. Williams I posted show that the founder of the Apostolic Church certainly did not share Zwingli's view of the Lord's Supper. For D.P. Williams the Breaking of Bread was not simply a illustration to remind us of Christ's atoning work. True, it was a memorial, but not just a memorial. The bread and wine themselves, our eating and drinking, the Words of Institution, all these would be enough in themselves for a mere memorial. However, D.P. Williams also saw an important role for the Holy Spirit at the Breaking of Bread.
That means that the sacrament is not only the activity of the pastor or the congregation, but rather that God Himself is at work in the sacrament. For those who only see the Lord's Supper in terms of Roman Catholic vs. Protestant, this is beginning to sound a bit scary (hence the post demonstrating that it's not just a question of Protestant vs. Catholic), but when we understand Calvin's teaching, and not only that of Zwingli, it becomes clear that there is nothing Catholic about saying that God is at work at the Breaking of Bread.
God is at work in the sacrament through the action of the Holy Spirit. As D.P. Williams wrote:
‘through the agency of the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of Christ, the effectiveness of the Finished Work on Man’s behalf is spiritually experienced and appropriated by them who have entered within the bonds of the Covenant of Grace.’
As we partake of the bread and the cup, the Holy Spirit is at work in drawing us into the blessings that are ours in Christ. More on what this means next time.