Calvin on Weekly Communion

The Eucharist in the Reformation by Lee Palmer Wandel

Wandel asserts the centrality of frequent communion in Calvin’s theology:

“Perhaps most important of all, however, was Calvin’s insistence on frequency.  Most evangelicals condemned the medieval requirement of annual communion as nonscriptural.  Luther condemned it as well for denying the laity that moment of intimate communion with Christ, which, as he said, nourished faith.  But no other evangelical so explicitly situated the Eucharist within a dialogic process not simply of deepening faith, but of the increasing capacity to read the signs of the Supper itself, and by extension, of God in the world.  The Supper, for Calvin, was not “external”—a ceremony to be performed regularly—nor even “worship” in the sense that other evangelicals, such as Zwingli and Luther, used:  a mode of honoring God.  The Supper was, for Calvin, mutual:  Christ “is made completely one with us and we with him.”  One was not “made completely one” with Christ in a single communion; one was “made completely one” over time, through the interdependent activities of the Holy Spirit: preaching and the Supper.  Frequent communion, therefore, for Calvin was essential to one’s growth as a Christian—it transformed one in one’s being and epistemology.  When Calvin’s liturgy was instituted in Geneva, however, the City Council restricted the number of times the Supper would be offered to four:  Easter, Pentecost, mid-September, and Christmas.  On this essential point, the government of Geneva did not follow Calvin.” [1]

[1] Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation, 171-72.

{HT: Reformed Liturgical Institute}

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
This entry was posted in Calvin/Calvinism, Word/Sacrament. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Calvin on Weekly Communion

  1. Pingback: Commonality: M. Luther, J. Calvin, and J. Wesley « Kevin Nunez

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