Intinction

“…Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it…”

Mt. 26:26-27

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye…”

1 Cor. 11:23-25

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Order of Contents

What is Intinction & is it Biblical?
Older Quotes  2

Older Articles  2
Westminster Directory of Public Worship

Contemporary Articles  2

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What is Intinction & is it Biblical?

Intinction is the practice of dipping the bread into the wine in order to eat the elements of the Lord’s Supper together.

Intinction is wrong because we are only supposed to worship God in the way that He directs in Scripture (the Regulative Principle of Worship), and Intinction is directly contrary to the two separate actions, and the order of them, that Christ specifically established as part of the Lord’s Supper, namely that:

(1) the minister is to break the loaf of bread while giving the words of institution, and then give the broken loaf to the people to divide amongst themselves;

(2) and then to pour the wine while giving the words of institution, afterwards giving the cup to the people to divide amongst themselves.  

Paul sets Christ’s example as the apostolic institution for the Church in 1 Cor. 11:23-25.

That which Christ dipped his bread into (Jn. 13:26) was probably not wine, but a sauce of bitter herbs, as was done on Passover night (Ex. 12:8).  This gives the proper significance to Jesus prophecying of dipping his bread at the same time as the one that would betray him, who would share with Him in these bitter and painful actions.  

The Lord’s Supper, on the other hand, was not the Passover meal or a part thereof, but was a new insitution Jesus ordained after the completion of the Old Testament Passover meal (Lk. 22:20), as the Old was being filled up and must pass away before the New which would remain.  The instructions for the Lord’s Supper were distinguished and in contrast, by the Lord’s appointment of these symbolic actions, to the practice of regular meals and the Passover.

The Regulative Principle of Worship requires worshipping God according to the pattern in Scripture **as far as, and as in as much detail as,** it can be discerned in Scripture, and no less.  Not only are the elements of worship regulated (the bread and wine), but every spiritually significant part of the sacramental actions (of both the minister and the recipients) are morally binding as well, as Christ said, ‘This **do** in remembrance of Me’ (Lk. 22:19).  The apostle Paul binds this exact same directive upon the Church in 1 Cor. 11.  

The administration of the Supper being clearly and specifically prescribed in this distinct manner, is, by definition, not indifferent.  Hence we do not have the liberty to change our Lord’s commandments and Supper, but are obliged to perform it as He has prescribed it.

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Older Quotes

Bruce, Robert  †1631

Sermons on the Lord’s Supper,  ed. Laidlaw, 1904, p. 55  This was perhaps the most influential work on the Lord’s Supper in Scottish history.  Note how Bruce sees the breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine as separate, spiritually significant, necessary actions.

“There is not a rite nor ceremony in the sacrament of the Supper, but is a sign, and has its own spiritual signification with it: as namely, looking to the breaking of the body and blood of Christ. . . .

Therefore the breaking is an essential ceremony: the pouring out of the wine also is an essential ceremony.  For as you see clearly, that by the wine is signified the blood of Christ, so by the pouring out of the wine, is signified that His blood was severed from his flesh; and the severing of those two makes death: for in blood is the life; and consequently it testifies His death.

The pouring out of the wine, therefore, tells thee that He died for thee, that His blood was shed for thee; so this is an essential ceremony which must not be left out.  

Likewise the distribution, giving and eating of that bread are essential ceremonies.  And what does the eating testify to thee? The applying of the body and blood of Christ to thy soul. So that there is none of these rites but have their own signification; and there cannot one of them be left out, but you shall pervert the whole action.”

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Willison, John  †1750

‘Concerning the Sacramental Words’ in A Sacramental Catechism, in Works, vol. 2, pp. 67-68   Willison was an evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland.

“Question:  Are not the sacramental elements, actions, and words, to be reckoned, all three together, as the outward sensible sign in this ordinance, for exhibiting, sealing, and applying Christ and his benefits to worhty communicants?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Is there any difference betwixt them?

A:  Though they be all very significant and instructive to us in partaking, yet they seem to differ in this, that the sacramental elements mainly hold forth the spiritual matter and substance which we partake of; the sacramental actions serve as a rule or example to regulate our practice of it; and the sacramental words point forth the doctrine, uses, and ends of the ordinance.”

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Older Articles

Boston, Thomas – ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 484-486  in Works, vol. 2  †1732

Boston was an influential evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland.

Note that on p. 484, towards the bottom, Boston thought it significant that the bread and wine are separate in the administration thereof.  Boston then expounds the four distinct actions of the sacrament that he believes are spiritually significant and necessary:

(1) the taking up of the bread and cup by the minister,
(2) the consecration of the bread and wine,
(3) the breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine as distinct acts, and
(4) the ‘giving of the bread, and then the wine, to the communicants.’

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Willison, John – ‘Some Further Meditations on the Sacramental Elements, Actions and Words’, pp. 247-255  in A Sacramental Directory: or a Treatise concerning the Sanctification of a Communion Sabbath  †1750

Willison was an influential evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland.  He gives meditations for the godly Christian when one is viewing the separate actions of the breaking of the bread, the giving it, eating of it, and then of the pouring out of the wine and drinking of it.

 

 

The Westminster Directory of Public Worship  1640’s

“The elements being now sanctified by the word and prayer, the minister, being at the table, is to take the bread in his hand, and say, in these expressions, (or other the like, used by Christ or his apostle upon this occasion:)

“According to the holy institution, command, and example of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, I take this bread, and, having given thanks, break it, and give it unto you; (there the minister, who is also himself to communicate, is to break the bread, and give it to the communicants;) Take ye, eat ye; this is the body of Christ which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of him.”

In like manner the minister is to take the cup, and say, in these expressions, (or other the like, used by Christ or the apostle upon the same occasion:)

“According to the institution, command, and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, I take this cup, and give it unto you; (here he giveth it to the communicants;) This cup is the new testament in the blood of Christ, which is shed for the remission of the sins of many: drink ye all of it.”

After all have communicated…”

 

 

Contemporary Articles

Keister, Lane – Intinction: An Historical, Exegetical and Systematic-Theological Examination  2012  19 pages

This paper sufficiently demonstrates that the practice is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, confusing the order and symbolism of the Lord’s Supper as set for by Christ in His institution of it, and later reaffirmed by Paul. Keister first gives the history of the practice, then examines the relevant Biblical texts, and then addresses objections.  

Keister does not address the teaching of the Westminster Standards.  For that, see the PCA Ohio Presbytery Report.

PCA Ohio Presbytery Committee Report – Intinction  2012  89 paragraphs

This report addresses, amongst other things, the history of intinction in the PCA and whether the practice is “indifferent,” that is, religiously neutral and therefore something that one has liberty over.  For a fuller discussion of the Biblical material and reformed history, see Keister’s article.

 

 

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

Lk. 22:19-20

 

 

 

Related Pages

The Common Cup

Sitting at the Table in Communion

The Westminster Standards on the Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Samuel Rutherford on the Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Lord’s Supper

Paedocommunion

Communion Sermons and Table Addresses

Preparing for the Lord’s Table

Wine

Common Bread