Chapter 29: Of the Lord's SupperThe 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith
1. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his Church, unto the end of the world; for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body.a
a. 1 Cor 10:16-17, 21; 11:23-26; 12:13.
2. In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead,a but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same;b so that the Popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.c
a. Heb 9:22, 25-26, 28. • b. Mat 26:26-27; 1 Cor 11:24-26. • c. Heb 7:23-24, 27; 10:11-12, 14, 18.
3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants;a but to none who are not then present in the congregation.b
a. Mat 26:26-28 and Mark 14:22-24 and Luke 22:19-20 with 1 Cor 11:23-27. • b. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:20.
4. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone;a as likewise the denial of the cup to the people;b worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.c
a. 1 Cor 10:6. • b. Mark 4:23; 1 Cor 11:25-29. • c. Mat 15:9.
5. The outward elements in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ;a albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly, and only, bread and wine, as they were before.b
a. Mat 26:26-28. • b. Mat 26:29; 1 Cor 11:26-28.
6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament; and hath been, and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.a
a. Luke 24:6, 39; Acts 3:21 with 1 Cor 11:24-26.
7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament,a do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are, to their outward senses.b
a. 1 Cor 11:28. • b. 1 Cor 10:16.
8. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament, yet they receive not the thing signified thereby; but by their unworthy coming thereunto are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation. Wherefore all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries,a or be admitted thereunto.b
a. 1 Cor 11:27-29; 2 Cor 6:14-16. • b. Mat 7:6; 1 Cor 5:6-7, 13; 2 Thes 3:6, 14-15.