December 12, 2017

The Baptist Way: Confessional Resources for Renewing the Lord’s Supper (2)

eucharist.jpgMy first post on the Baptist View of the Lord’s Supper is here.

Last week, I apparently shook up the world of people whose stereotype of me precluded any agreement with my Baptist tradition. In a post surveying some immediate resources for a Baptist view of the Lord’s Supper, I raised the ire of all sorts of people in all sorts of places by saying what I’ve said for 7 years: post-evangelical, emerging or whatever, I would still hand you the New Hampshire Confession of Faith if you asked me what I believe.

So when I wrote on the Baptist view of the Lord’s Supper, I immediately noticed that I fell into two ditches. The first is what others have deduced about the Baptist view of the supper from what non-Baptists have said about it (“bare symbolism,” no presence of Christ, etc.) and what others have deduced about the supper from what Baptists have said about it (“bare symbolism, no presence of Christ) and done with it (“let’s not do it more than 4 times a year, etc.”).

I’ve long ago assimilated the fact that what people deduce about you from the internet generally has a lot to do with their need to feel that you agree with them and you are their ally. (I learned that from my own blog reading.) It’s safe to say that few people who read my site are hungering for the paltry views and practice of the Lord’s Supper that prevail among Baptists. In fact, for many post-evangelicals, it was a journey toward a more reformed, even Catholic, view of the sacraments that brought them to embrace infant baptism and to say they believe in some kind real presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the bread and wine.

I could fuss and finger wag a bit. You people should have known that in returning to an SBC church I’m not going to lay down my critique of evangelicals or Southern Baptists. I’m going to find a constructive way to bring my advocacy of post-evangelicalism into my church context. People read this page, and I’ve already been asked to preach at my church. So let’s do this thing, shall we?

Here’s where I’m heading: My Southern Baptist denomination is one of many evangelical groups that has done an awful and embarrassing job articulating and practicing anything Biblically substantial about the Lord’s Table. I can’t remedy that on a blog, but I’m going to get out of the gate with some ideas. And as a post-evangelical, I’m going to suggest we go back to go forward. In this case, back to our own confessions.

Let’s start with that person who feels that the Baptist view of the Lord’s Supper is a major negative in remaining a Baptist. Whatever problems one might encounter in moving to another denomination, at least there would be a vast improvement in what is confessed and practiced regarding the Lord’s Table. Many a Baptist gone Presbyterian has felt that way, as have many who’ve gone on to Anglican, Lutheran or even Roman Catholic options.

What does one see in the typical Baptist church regarding the Lord’s Supper? Almost nothing, and what little is there is devalued even more.

The most commonly used Baptist confession- the Baptist Faith and Message- says the following about the Lord’s Supper:

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

I’m not the kind of person who routinely criticizes the BFM, but this is completely inadequate. In fact, it’s offensive.

Part of the offense is the language itself.

1) By singling out “symbolic” as the most important description, the confession distorts the rich, varied and deep Biblical language about the Lord’s Supper. (I’ll comment on this more, but for now, I’ll call this the “mere symbolism” view.)

2) The word “act” is simply devaluing the Lord’s Supper further. Any number of other words would be more appropriate. The Supper is a gift, a thanksgiving and an offering of Christ. It is a feeding on Christ through faith.

3) As I’ll demonstrate later, it’s never been a problem for Baptists until the modern era, to say they were partaking of Christ. The BFM is too modernist at this point.

4) The “fruit of the vine” is simply ridiculous. Previous confessions said “wine.”

5) The Lord’s Supper does any number of things Biblically. “Anticipate” the second coming must be one of the worst ways of expressing any of them. The text says “proclaim.”

So before we look at how previous Baptist confessions talked about the Lord’s Supper, let me say this:

If all I had to go on was this confessional statement and what I saw at the occasional Lord’s Supper service in a typical Baptist church, most anything else would look good to me.

So I’m not blaming you people, but I am going to try and contribute something to try and stop the leak in this boat.

For starters, you need to get a book. It’s probably out of print, but if you can find it, get it. Baptist Confessions, Covenants and Catechisms by Dr. Timothy George and Denise George. It was part of a series of historical Baptist reprints edited by the George’s back in the 90’s, and this book is exactly what it says. It’s the best single source of historical material on what Baptists have said and taught that you will find.

If you can’t find this book, there are other reference books that contain most of this material in the confession and catechisms section. The covenants are very unique and hard to find. Lumpkin’s Baptist Confessions of Faith may be helpful, and of course, the internet will help as well.

Wherever you go, here’s what you are going to find: Baptists did a lot better job with articulating their view of the Lord’s Supper in previous centuries. The further down the road we’ve come into contemporary evangelicalism, the worst things have gotten, and our current confession as Southern Baptists is horrid on the subject.

So if you want to start reversing the situation, try out some other confessions. Here’s what I mean.

In 1611, Baptists living in Amsterdam published a comprehensive statement of their own faith. It is rightly called the first English Baptist Confession, and here are its articles on the Lord’s Supper.

72. That in the outward supper which only baptized persons must partake, there is presented and figured, before the eyes of the penitent and faithful, that spiritual supper, which Christ maketh of His flesh and blood which is crucified and shed for the remission of sins (as the bread is broken and the wine poured forth), and which is eaten and drunken (as is the bread and wine bodily) only by those which are flesh of His flesh, and bone of His bone: in the communion of the same spirit (I Cor. xii. 13; Rev. iii. 20, compared with I Cor. xi. 23, 26; John vi. 53, 58).

73. That the outward baptism and supper do not confer and convey grace and regeneration to the participants or communicants; but as the word preached, they serve only to support and stir up the repentance and faith of the communicants till Christ come, till the day dawn, and the day-star arise in their hearts (I Cor. xi. 26; 2 Peter i. 19; I Cor. i. 5-8).

74. That the sacraments have the same use that the word hath; that they are a visible word, and that they teach to the eye of them that understand as the word teacheth the ears of them that have ears to hear (Prov. xx. 12), and therefore as the word appertaineth not to infants, no more do the sacraments.

75. That the preaching of the word, and ministry of the sacraments, representeth the ministry of Christ in the spirit; who teacheth, baptizeth, and feedeth the regenerate, by the Holy Spirit inwardly and invisibly.

The richness of this confession’s description of the Lord’s Supper in a distinctive Baptist manner so far surpasses the Baptist Faith and Message that, if you are like me, it makes you quite sad. Why did we strip our rich confessional language down to such a paltry sentence as the BFM 2000?

Or read the Second London Confession of 1689 on the Lord’s Supper, and note these wonderful descriptions, again in stark contrast to the minimalism and downright hostility of the BFM’s language.

1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.
( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17,21 )

3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants.
( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )

5. The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.
( 1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 )

7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.
( 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 )

8. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.
( 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6 )

With just these two confessions alone, imagine what worship and preaching resources are available to those who want to re-emphasize the Lord’s Supper?

Notice that our Baptist ancestors had no problems saying they were eating the body and blood of Jesus, feeding on him in the only way they believed was Biblically possible. They were convinced of the meaning of the text, and were therefore unafraid to use the language of the text.

The Lord’s Supper was the Gospel preached, Christ offered. It was not just an “act” of “obedience.” Listen to Spurgeon defending weekly communion in his church.

“So with the Lord’s Supper. My witness is, and I think I speak the mind of many of God’s people now present, that coming as some of us do, weekly, to the Lord’s table, we do not find the breaking of bread to have lost its significance—it is always fresh to us. I have often remarked on Lord’s-day evening, whatever the subject may have been, whether Sinai has thundered over our heads, or the plaintive notes of Calvary have pierced our hearts, it always seems equally appropriate to come to the breaking of bread. Shame on the Christian church that she should put it off to once a month, and mar the first day of the week by depriving it of its glory in the meeting together for fellowship and breaking of bread, and showing forth of the death of Christ till he come. They who once know the sweetness of each Lord’s-day celebrating his Supper, will not be content, I am sure, to put it off to less frequent seasons. Beloved, when the Holy Ghost is with us, ordinances are wells to the Christian, wells of rich comfort and of near communion.” “Songs of Deliverance,” Sermon no. 763, July 28, 1867, preaching from Judges 5:11.

“Wells of comfort to the Christian.”

The BFM participates in what amounts to a war against placing the Lord’s Supper in the place it deserves in worship. No one who studies Christian worship comes away believing that the “breaking of bread” is meant to be some kind of minimalistic act of loyalty done four times a year. All those who study worship come to the same conclusion: that whatever our theology of the Lord’s Supper, it deserves a place as a central element of worship, with all the richness of Passover/Gospel imagery brought to its celebration by those of us who believe that Christ is really present and powerfully presented wherever the Gospel Word is presented, in words or in the elements of Jesus’ own table fellowship.

The language of the BFM should be replaced with the language of previous confession that were not ashamed or afraid to approach the Lord’s Table as it is portrayed in the Bible and to make room for it as a central celebration and gift in worship.

Think about this, and I’ll be writing on this again soon.

Comments

  1. I don’t want to limit the discussion, but I will. If you aren’t Baptist, and you just want to disagree with our way of seeing the Supper, please go find a Baptist theology board and argue with them.

    I want to hear from Baptists and similar evangelicals on how we can turn this situation around.

  2. Michael: I don’t qualify for this discussion ;-), but I very much appreciated this post. The big difference – which I’m not here to argue about – remains the acceptance or rejection of the real identification, but it is heartening to see just how much better the Baptist confessions are on the Supper than the BFM.

    The BFM seems to owe more to “generic evangelical” statements of faith, which tend to be extremely reductive as regards the baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The statement of faith of Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) here in the UK says simply:

    The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.

    The IVF Basis of Faith is silent on the baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which seems absolutely extraordinary.

    So while this Lutheran can’t comment specifically on what Baptists can do to “turn this situation around”, a large part of the answer would appear to be moving in the direction of a positive (as distinct from negative/antiquarian) confessionalism, away from generic evangelicalism.

    The Lord’s Supper was the Gospel preached, Christ offered. It was not just an “act” of “obedience.”

    Preach it, brother, preach it! Great Spurgeon quote, too.

  3. Hi Michael,

    I’m really glad you’ve taken up this topic. Comparing the confessions makes the newest BFM look like a wilted flower next to a vibrant plant. Of course, I can agree with everything in the BFM 2000, but that statement is the bare minimal of what I believe about the Supper. It is so much more.

    I’ve been thinking about the discussion you and I had on my blog regarding this and now think we might be a lot closer to each other’s positions than we think.

  4. John, the reason UCCF is silent on the sacraments is (I think; I could easily check this if I felt so inclined) fairly simple: their non-statement is itself a statement. UCCF has to fight hard, as I’m sure you may recall from student days, to make sure that students do not think of CU as “church”. I think that the silence there is operating on the principle that “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.”

    The FIEC one, on the other hand, demonstrates why I was uneasy with our FIEC-affiliated church adopting the FIEC statement of faith as its own. It works as a parachurch statement of faith, but is far too bland for a church confession.

    Michael: The terms “eat and drink” truly are remarkable, and you’re right to comment on them. Whereas the London Baptist Confession is known to be a revision of Westminster, I surmise that the Amsterdam language (at this point; cf. AC 18, BC 15) was influenced by the Belgic Confession. It’s interesting to see that the Continental Reformed (and those they influenced) were less hesitant about the words “eat and drink” than the Puritans, who seemed to opt for “feed”. Thanks for pointing up those documents; they’re going on file for use at an appropriate time.

  5. Michael.

    [edited by moderator] I am glad that you are a reforming presence in the SBC and I pray that God uses you mightily there. I have been in SBC churches for 7 years and now attend the SBC premiere university (Union). There are a few of the Founders Churches here and they are participating in the Eucharist every Sunday. My Greek professor is a pastor of one of them. He views the Lord’s Supper as Jesus reinterpreting the Passover for his disciples. This was a major paradigm shift for them. They had particapated in this meal the same way for years. For Jesus to simply take the bread and the wine and reinterpret it as himself was a mind-blowing event for their Jewish mind. The King of Israel as the Lamb of sacrifice. Its mind-blowing now. Their is so much rich theology their that we can think of before we partake. The typical “examine yourself” is not enough. I believe that regular participation, a good theology of the Eucharist and a presentation of that theology before particapation, and a developed attitude of reverence toward the Eucharist is a clear way towards reform in the SBC. I have seen a few doing it(although not nearly enough).

    What is really hindering reform now is the whole Calvinist/anti-Calvanist thing. The return to liturgy, thoughtful worship, and a more traditional eucharist has become synonomous with Calvanism. So, those who are not Calvinist throw the baby out with the bath water. Southern Baptists are going to have to follow David Dockery’s advice and figure out their identity. I didn’t get it at first but now I see it loud and clear. Without any sense of identity, they will simply morph into whatever is popular. That is exactly what has happened now. If Southern Baptists are going to survive, they are also going to have to heed Jesus’ call to make disciples rather than “get people saved.” You in the SBC know what I am talking about.

  6. I’ve noticed several trends among Southern Baptists with regards to the Lord’s Supper. One thing I’ve noticed is that two of the 4 annual observances, the ones around Christmas and Easter are being shifted to ‘special’ evening services–on Christmas Eve and Good Friday. I don’t know whether this is because they are trying to encourage people to come to these special holiday services or because they know many of their members will be out of town for the holidays, but it seems to me, to further remove the Lord’s Supper from being a regular part of the worship and life of the local congregation.

    The other, more positive thing, I’ve noticed is that there seems to be a small but building grass roots movement among Southern Baptists to change attitudes about the treatment of the Lord’s Supper as an occasional symbolic act. I am hearing more and more fellow Southern Baptists talk about observing the Lord’s Supper with their family and friends in their homes, more and more discussion online among Southern Baptists on this topic, and am seeing a growing number of new reformed Southern Baptist churches. I don’t really have any ideas for encouraging these trends but I think they are good signs.

    Movements often start from the bottom rather than the top. I know my own education and revelation concerning this topic came from reading the discussions of fellow Believers, online. I think there is a collective longing and need for reform of the typical, modern Southern Baptist observance of the Lord’s Supper and I think that over time, we will see that longing give birth to change.

  7. Joshua Manning says:

    I think we (Baptists) are scared of anything that claims to be a means of grace by believing it violates the priesthood of the believer. Priesthood of the believer has been perverted to mean independence of the believer from the visible community. Anything that claims to “give” me grace from another person or act is a violation of that principle of independence.

    I also think the tendency to use the Supper as solely an opportunity for introspection and confession is wrong. Paul forces the Corinthians to use it that way, since they misused it so much. But its essential aim is for a longing, celebratory declaration. I think we rob it of that when we make everyone feel bad before they come forward by saying “if you aren’t right don’t take it”.

    Restoring weekly communion can restore a sense of connectedness. We are all means of grace to one another. It can also restore a sense of corporate eschatological anticipation (regardless of eschatology).

    I had a friend who preached for three or four weeks on communion, and after that he had to keep the people from rushing the “elements” after the last sermon. We can feed a hunger for Christ, sheep love sheep food and when they see the biblical mandate for communion they’ll desire it, grow from it, and thus desire it more.

  8. John, the reason UCCF is silent on the sacraments is (I think; I could easily check this if I felt so inclined) fairly simple: their non-statement is itself a statement. UCCF has to fight hard, as I’m sure you may recall from student days, to make sure that students do not think of CU as “church”.

    Phil: I think the problem there is that the UCCF’s silence on the sacraments has been counterproductive in that respect. If the UCCF had a robust emphasis on the church as the place where the preaching of the gospel, baptism and the Lord’s Supper take place, then I’d have thought that would reduce the likelihood of students mistaking the CU for “church”.

    That in turn feeds into the topic actually under discussion, because it seems to me that a feature of some strands of evangelicalism has been, not so much to turn CU meetings into church services, but to turn church services into CU meetings. I’m sure this is partly down to many Christians experiencing the CU (and/or youth ministries) as the formative experience of their Christian lives.

  9. John: I was half right, which is right enough for these purposes. There’s little disagreement on the rest from me, although there is disagreement within UCCF on some of this stuff. Having spent my undergraduate years involved, at various levels, in the running of the uni CU, and having had many similar discussions, I’m sure you will appreciate that I could write reams on this. And I’m sure you appreciate my restraint. 😉 At church, of course, we see the other side of the problem, in practical (and even, at times, personal) outworkings of the fact that students mistake the CU for church, and vice versa.

    Yeah, so the Lord’s Supper. Do it weekly: alternating between mornings and evenings is my preference. And get the kids in for it, too, regardless of whether you’re a paedocommunionist. And for goodness’ sake, use real wine. Then perhaps, just perhaps, we might see (for the sake of example) students who give as much commitment to church as they do to the CU.

  10. Michael,

    Hope I’m not breaking the rules as I don’t meet the qualifications for comment… but I wanted to say how grateful I am, as a Catholic, for this series of posts. Despite growing up surrounded by Baptists, I’ve lived in complete ignorance of Baptist theology, except that which I’ve heard set forth (from both Baptists and Catholics) in purely apologetical terms, which had left me with a sense that Baptist beliefs were theology by negation. I feel like I’m grasping something of the richness of Baptist thinking and tradition now. Thanks for letting us non-Baptists see the tradition “from the inside,” presented as a whole and not merely in contrast to other theologies.

  11. Michael,

    Just wanted to echo what some others have said and say thanks for broaching this topic. I go to a Baptisty community church and we have only recently started doing the Lord’s Supper twice a month. Before that it was whenever the pastor felt like it. But I think that we don’t know why we do it. In all honesty, I think it’s because some people wanted to do it more often and the pastor acquiesced.

    But our language is the bare language of symbol and remembrance. For something that should be pointing to Jesus and uniting his followers in Him, the introspection we are encouraged to do seems like a bare minimum.

    Don’t get me wrong, anything that points to Christ in our gathered worship is a good thing. I just wish we had a fuller expression of it.

  12. Have found this hugely helpful – I am an Anglican Mission priest in the North of England ( strong Methodist and Baptist territory historically) and currently on sabbatical, and among other things working on contemporary, missional understandings of The Eucharist. I have earlier in the week posted a request for Free Church web material on thinking about the Eucharist- see my site and any other suggestions welcome.

    Thanks for your insights which is so much more than my practical experience of Baptist theology through Baptist ministers and churches – I look forward to reading more.

    Tom

  13. Nicholas Anton says:

    Much has been said about being open to the various traditions on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but little on what these traditions were and are to be based. My Faith tradition is Evangelical Anabaptist. My traditional denomination firmly advocated the three “Solas”, yet it was a bit soft on eternal security. It practiced a believer’s baptism by immersion, unless for physical reasons this was not possible. It would however accept believers who had been baptized by pouring or sprinkling on the confession of faith from other denominations.

    The Bible commands all to be baptized. Yet, if immersion is to be the exclusive method, what about those on life support? Since most Baptists/Anabaptists demand that those who partake of the Lord’s Table be baptized, those who cannot be baptized by immersion are eternally disenfranchised from full fellowship within the church. Though I believe that immersion was the majority view and practice in the early church, I am not convinced that it was the exclusive method.

  14. Nicholas Anton says:

    Regarding church affiliation, structure and leadership within the New Testament church, there is no indicated Biblical concept of official versus non official associate status within any church/ekklesia in the New Testament. The initial church was conceived as a Spiritual family and functioned under tribal patriarchal concepts (age versus youth) (sixth commandment “Honor thy father and mother”). All true believers were considered part of this family/church/ekklesia, and all functioned with equal status as gifted by the Holy Spirit within patriarchal protocol, whether assembled or not assembled, whether itinerant or local. Their function and authority existed in Whom they believed (Jesus Christ), the Words they spoke and in the authority they exercised according to the gifts delegated to them by the Holy Spirit, and not according to human appointed jurisdiction. True, people were delegated, recognized and affirmed by the church and apostles to serve where there was neglect in service, and the seniors/elders/elderly were recognized to superintend (episkope) and shepherd (poimen), but not to rule in the English sense of the term, nor to give them official, exclusive, final right, control, authority and status in that jurisdiction. No one was given nor recognized as having exclusive right to baptize nor administer the Lord’s supper. The implication of what Jesus told the eleven;
    Mat 28:19-20,
    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
    is that the converts both as individuals and as a body were to practice what Jesus taught the disciples, which included baptism and communion.

  15. I will disagree with josh and say that I really think it is the influence of ecumenicism and the RCC that are leading more baptists to a healthier view of communion and liturgical tradition. I guess this is assuming more participation in a post-evangelical context than is necessary but I will go ahead and do it.

    I was in a Catholic wedding about a month ago and had a real hard time sitting through the Eucharist. It wasn’t because I was mad that I couldn’t take it, but that I pretty much agree with transubstantiation (and as a Baptist no less). I know that it seems confusing, but I really boil it down to the simple faith I had as a kid. I was a good little baptist that heard 4 times a year, “The is the body and blood of Christ”. And I just believed it, thinking there was some way to cool supranatural thing going on. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I really ever thought otherwise about it. I think that the view of the Lords Supper (I call it this because it is the lowest term, I refuse to use the word Eucharist within baptist communion settings) in the current BFM is horrible and I think that these recommendations you have put forth are great. To think that the Holy Spirit is incapable of doing something involved in the elements is just putting God in a box and showing traditional evangelicism’s fear of anything remotely Catholic.

    Thanks Mike.

  16. Joe Young says:

    I suppose that during my entire ministry I have felt that to be Biblical as a Baptist was far more important than to be a traditional Baptist. To be traditionally Baptist is just as bad as to follow tradition more than Scripture as some of our brethren in other denomina-
    tions. I just don’t understand who changed our Baptist tradition of weekly Communion to quarterly Communion.

    So over all my years as a Southern Baptist, now 35 years as a pastor, I have never observed the Lord’s Supper less frequently than once a month. As you have done, I have studied both the Scriptures and earlier
    Baptist and Southern Baptist history, and have been stunned to see the damage we have done to people’s understanding of this great ordinance of the church.

    The first meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention included a Communion Service. And, as you mention,
    Spurgeon long ago in England was observing the Supper
    weekly on the Lord’s Day.

    There is no better way to preach the Gospel than the Biblical way of preaching it, baptizing new believers, and observing the Supper. I personally find it a blessing to alternate morning and evening Communion Services with weekly Communion.

    I appreciate you and others for raising the issue.

  17. Michael,

    I think one thing that is really hurting our efforts in this regard, and one I was totally unaware of having never been in anything but a baptist or country methodist church until adulthood is our architecture is all wrong. The anglican architeture is much more appropriate with the table in center and the pulpit to the side. I even like the scripture read in the middle of the people. I would simply replace the baptismal font at the door with a baptismal pool.

    Everyone should read a hard to find book “Baptist at the table” I can’t remember the author right now, but it is truly an eye opener and has helped me to reclaim a high view of the table.

    Austin