The Lord’s Supper, or communion, is one of two ordinances (along with Baptism) instituted by Christ, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. This expression is most frequently practiced in conjunction with the preaching of the gospel and in the context of gathered worship as a church family. Because CrossLife is part of the EFCA we affirm along with our statement of faith that these practices “when celebrated in genuine faith confirm and nourish the believer.”
Communion and Salvation
The practice of participating in the Lord’s Supper is prescribed for those who are already believers in Christ. So, it is not in the receiving of communion that you become a Christian and are saved. Salvation rather is the gift of grace through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8). Additionally, the elements used in the celebration of communion are separate from what they signify. The bread and the wine/grape juice are representations of Christ’s physical body and blood which tangibly expresses both the reality of God’s saving work in the gospel and the presence of Christ with us. However, we do not believe the elements are at any point or in any way the literal body and blood of Jesus. We, therefore, reject any theological position of transubstantiation.
Who Should Receive Communion?
Communion is to be received by all who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus for the hope of their salvation. You do not need to be a member of CrossLife to receive communion. However, the requirements for those who receive communion are the same for those who would desire to be baptized. It is a practice for genuine believers who in faith before God trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation and who profess their hope in the risen Christ as Lord through their attitude and actions (Rom 6:3-4, 11)
Do I Need to be Baptized to Receive Communion?
While you do not need to be baptized to receive communion there is a logical connection between the two. Whereas baptism is a one-time event for believers who are declaring public faith and identification with Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is a reoccurring practice that confirms the believer in continued fellowship with Christ (1 Cor 10:16) through the faith first expressed in the act of baptism.
How Do We Practice Communion at CrossLife?
We affirm the reality that Christ is truly present where the church gathers (1 Cor 5:4), and it’s Christ’s own presence that gives a context for celebrating the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ (1 Cor 11:24-25) who has died, has risen, and who will come again in glory (1 Cor 11:26). It is a past remembrance with respect to our being converted to Christ through a confession of faith (Col 2:13-15), it is a present remembrance that we have died and are now spiritually raised with Christ (Col 3:1-4) having true fellowship with Him and with other believers who are in Christ, and it is a remembrance of our future hope that we will one day reign with Christ in resurrection life for eternity to the glory of God (2 Tim 2:10-13).
At CrossLife we have historically observed communion on the first Sunday of every month and often during special services (i.e., Thanksgiving and Good Friday services). We have given the freedom to parents to make individual decisions as to the appropriate age at which their children may participate in receiving communion. This is provided they meet the previously stated requirements of having expressed personal faith in Jesus for their salvation.