Gerhard Forde on the Lord’s Supper

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When we receive the Lord’s Supper, we are receiving the gift of Jesus’ last will and testament, according to Dr. Forde. We are receiving Christ Himself.

 

A lawyer hires someone to find an heir to someone’s estate. That person finds the man, a toothless, homeless bum, and brings him up to the lawyers office. His identity is verified and it is proven that this man is the nephew of the deceased, whom the deceased has named in his will to receive a sum of 5 million dollars.

The will is read to the man. It is done. The man will receive the 5 million dollars.

 The man does not have to say if he liked his uncle or not. The man does not have to show that he understands how it is possible for all of this to take place. The man does not have to explain what it is he is going to do with the money. The man just gets the money…period. He is the beneficiary of his uncle’s gift. That’s it.

I think this is what Forde is saying that the Lord is doing at His Supper. This is the Lord’s Testament. He gives to us everything that He desires to give to us in that meal… His very life. His very essence. All because of His good and gracious will for undeserving sinners.

Yes, the Sacrament IS the gospel! The pure, unmitigated grace of God, given to those that would take it for granted, abandon Him, and run to other gods almost every chance they get.

This is love! Love that is hard for us to believe (and quite often we refuse to believe it). But it is true. And it is true… for you. “For you”…the two most important words that accompany the bread and the wine.

 

That’s what I believe.

How about you?

 

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15 Responses

  1. I love Forde. We used one of his books in my Theologies of the Cross class. I fell in love with him then. Thanks Steve.

  2. The analogy, which is not bad at all, like all analogies has its limits, else it would be the thing itself.

    It presuppose unified confession, in the same family, heterodoxy is not. Again, its not about who is and is not a real Christian but about the unified confession.

    The Christian faith is one single confession not many. The drive for a closed membership, baptism and closed communion is NOT to keep people out, but bring them INTO the one faith confessed.

    We don’t leave full unbelievers in unbelief by saying, “Jesus is one option”, nor do we leave people in heterodoxy, which is mingled, confessionally, unbelief in that either by saying or implying their confession on the issue is just eschew. And by both sacraments confessed truly and unified we give rank unbelievers, heterodoxy and ourselves that very Gospel that battles the inherent UNBELIEF in us all.

    Thus, it is to love them not to exclude and hate them.

    Forde writes in that same article, “An age which has already REDUCED GOD PRETTY MUCH TO A MEANINGLESS CIPHER, a sentimentality characterized as ‘love in general,’ cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that this sacrament is the Lord’s Supper not ours. He gives it. HE IS THE GIFT. We are indeed to give thanks for this unspeakable gift. But THE THANKSGIVING MUST BE QUITE DISTINCT; IT MUST NOT DISPLACE THE GIFT ITSELF. When the Lord’s Supper becomes the Eucharist everything is run together and confused and the sheer gift of the gospel is obscured, if not lost”.

    Which speaks opposite to the analogy given

  3. Steve,

    I actually find this discussion good and not heated at all. It’s promoting a lot of good thought.

    Yours,

    Larry

  4. Larry,

    I didn’t think the analogy was about our thanksgiving, or our offering…anything. I tried to make it revolve around the desire of the Giver to give.

    I do agree with you, however, our thanksgiving (while we may have it) should never be the focus.

  5. I think our discussions are healthy as well.

    It never hurts to learn about Christ and His gospel,or to learn about ourselves in this whole process.

  6. On the other post, I just didn’t want to give Susan the impression that her new found freedom was going to open the door to infighting with ‘other Lutherans’…assuming that is where she ends up.

    Maybe down the road a little bit, but how about a little time to breathe a sigh of relief that the yoke of religion has been taken off her neck 😀

  7. I have always been enamored with the word Mercy in scripture because it gives LOVE so much depth. Mercy is the LOVE of Jesus toward sinners.

    Matthew 9:13 (paraphrased from Memory). But go and learn what this means…. I desire Mercy not sacrifice for I have not come to call the righteouss but sinners

    The Gospel is Gods merciful Love toward sinners.

    http://centralityofthegospel.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/idolatry/

  8. At the same I also believe their is great growth and sanctification in understanding how easily we run to other Gods. Churches and groups that see the need for the Mercy of the cross are also groups that grow.

    However, as a Lutheran we also know any sanctification oriented group will always have an easy tendency to switch the outputs with the inputs….. and confuse the imputed righteousness of Christ and mix in our own righteousness…. we run to OTHER gods so easily!

    We easily mix our inputs and outputs… we make obediende or some religious activity a requiremnt to the finished work of Christ on the cross and ….. as Paul said in Galatians… its a perversion of the Gospel… even as we use the word obedience.

    I think of Gal 2:14 where Paul reprimanded Peter for “not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel” because he was adding a requirement to the Gospel for the people of Galatia.

    As Paul later said in Galatians… I wish these people go and emasculate (castrate) themselves!

  9. Thanks for the Forde article. His book “Where God Meet Man” is a great book.

  10. Thanks Jon!

    looking forward to reading your latest post (soon) !

    – Steve

  11. 1517ad,

    Love that handle!

    Thanks, my friend!

    Yes, ‘Where God Meets Man’ is a great book. My pastor did a class on that book years ago and it, too, was a real gem. I’ll have to dig up some of those old tapes and try and post them somehow.

  12. oh crap. How did I miss the significance of the 1517ad handle!!!!!!

  13. What do I think about communion? It’s based on the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples – and made some allegorical examples about the bread and wine.

    To me, the communion always seems more about ‘here is my life remember it’ – but in the sense – ‘remember to follow it’. What’s the use of remembering something unless it inspires us to bigger and better things with our lives? Jesus’ communion is about inspiration and seeing the live he lived and died for was of such importance we need to honor that by following in his footsteps.

  14. Jason,

    Well…that’s what many Christians think it is.

    That is the opposite of what Lutherans believe.(as Forde’s piece states).

    I, for one, am glad that it is an actual, free gift of God…to me. This keep me grounded in Him, and off of the religious rat wheel of my personal obedience or seriousness.

    Thanks for your opinion, Jason.

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