Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 9 September 2014
Page 16

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

One Cup versus
Multiple Communion Cups

O. Adam

My specific reason for sending the book was to then discuss with you the subject of using multiple cups in the observance of the Lord’s Supper, and how we must follow the pattern in all things - including the Lord’s Supper. Am I correct in saying that you currently believe the use of multiple cups is acceptable? I firmly believe that the only way to follow the pattern is to do exactly what Jesus did when He instituted it. He took a single cup, had each person drink from that one cup, and then concluded by telling the Apostles to “DO THIS” in His memory. When someone chooses to use multiple cups, they have CHANGED how Jesus did it. They are no longer doing “THIS” but are instead doing “SOMETHING ELSE.” If we can CHANGE a practice that comes from the very words of Jesus, why could we not do the same for any other teaching in the New Testament? I think you will agree that we may not change anything that was commanded of us. If you believe that using multiple cups is acceptable with God, please tell me, what scriptures do you rely on to reach that conclusion? ~ Jim Rogers

Jesus and 12 disciples drank from one cup, it is true; I agree with you. However, 3000 Christians did not drink from one cup; my common sense says that it is impossible for a large congregation to make a large cup containing a thousand liters. So, dear brother, stop arguing with me on this matter, and try to save lost souls in India.

[Editor’s Note: Neither could I be prouder of my fellow preacher of the Gospel in India and nor could I be more disappointed in a fellow Christian from the United States. Brother Adam stunningly dismissed the misguided hermeneutical misdirection of the American brother and at the same time addressed the neglected and obligatory focus of Christianity – reaching lost souls with the Gospel. Brother Adam correctly and astutely observed that common sense alone disarms the baseless assertions of the one cup doctrine. The Bible is verbal communication from God to mankind, and common sense or logic is crucial to correct biblical interpretation. The failure to use common sense or logic in verbal communication between persons or in interpreting the Bible leads to confusion and misunderstanding. For more on the “one cup doctrine,” visit the Gospel Gazette Online “Archive” at http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2002/mar/page20.htm#onecup. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

On What Day Did Jesus
Ascend Back to Heaven?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis Rushmore

Someone inquired, “On what day did Jesus ascend back to heaven?” In the first place, it does not matter on what day of the week Jesus Christ Ascended. We are not trying to be dismissive, but simply acknowledge that the Scriptures do not revere the day of our Lord’s Ascension as an occasion as a special day on which to worship. Manmade religions, even those claiming an affinity for Christianity, have manufactured a number of holy days that God through the Bible has not designated. This is not a new practice, but it was occurring in the first century, too (Galatians 4:10-11).

Secondly, for centuries beginning with the Catholic Church, Thursday has been associated with Jesus’ Ascension and set aside as a manmade holy day as well. Two days prior to the Sabbath the year Jesus Christ was crucified, our Lord observed the last divinely authorized Jewish Passover meal, instituted the Communion and was later arrested. The following day (Friday) He was crucified and died. On the third day (including Friday), Jesus Christ arose from the grave on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 15:4; Matthew 28:1). On the 40th day after His resurrection (including the day of His resurrection), Jesus Christ Ascended back to heaven (Acts 1:3, 9). Forty days from the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week (Sunday on our calendars) occurs on a Thursday.

In addition, the church was established on the first Pentecost following the death, burial, resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. Pentecost always occurs on the first day of the week, calculated 50 days from the Sabbath following the Passover, seven Sabbaths plus one day. Jesus resurrected on the day following the Sabbath from which one counts to arrive at Pentecost day. Allowing for the 40 days Christ was on earth after His resurrection and before His Ascension and 10 more days afterward until that fateful Pentecost, one can count backward from that Pentecost Sunday 11 days (the 10 days between 40 days and Pentecost and one more day to the day of Ascension) and determine that the Ascension of Jesus Christ occurred on a Thursday.

However, we need to be more concerned with what Scripture authorizes and requires of mortals instead of spiritualizing Christianity with manmade holy days. For instance, the New Testament teaches that Christians are expected to assemble regularly (Hebrews 10:25) on the first day of every week for worship, during which they observe the Lord’s Supper and preaching (Acts 20:7), contributing to a collection (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), and praying and singing (1 Corinthians 14:15).

Eunuchs for Christ?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

What is your interpretation of Matthew 19:12? By abstaining from any sexual relations, can one become a eunuch for Christ?

“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it” (Matthew 19:12 NKJV). The inquiry concerns the part of the verse that reads, “…there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Allegorically or figuratively, not physically or literally, these persons choose to abstain from marriage. H. Leo Boles cited these persons as “…those who voluntarily subdue the natural inclinations and practice self-denial for the sake of ‘the kingdom of heaven’” (Boles). “This means, for the sake of going to heaven, some have chosen to live celibate lives” (Webster 417).

There are a number of possible circumstances wherein these virtual eunuchs may either opt to remain celibate or perhaps even involuntarily find themselves required to adopt celibacy, for instance, to comply with God’s law on marriage, divorce and remarriage.

These are those normal people who, while sexually perfectly capable of consummating marriage, have the gift to live the single life happily in special service to God, and choose to do so. Paul had the gift and used it for more effective service in the Kingdom by leaving himself free to carry on a wideranging evangelistic ministry. (See 1 Co. 7:7f, 32-35; 9:5) This principle describes and justifies the celibacy of John the Baptist and of Jesus Himself. Others, because of severe hardship and persecutions, might voluntarily decide not to marry. (1 Co. 7:25- 35, 37f)

Those who are married, but whose unbelieving partner refuses to live with a Christian, when forced to let the unbeliever depart, find themselves, for the sake of Christ, in the situation of a virtual eunuch for the kingdom of heaven. They are not obligated (“bound”) to maintain a marriage for sake of the marriage to the detriment and disadvantage of their confession of Christ and their belonging to Him (1 Co. 7: 12-16). So, in principle, Jesus’ expression, eunuchs for the Kingdom, does leave the door open for separation from an unbelieving spouse, but, even so, it is not a divorce initiated by the Christian in order to remarry (as in 19:9 or Mk. 10:1), but a bowing to the choice of the unbelieving spouse, in order to follow God’s call to peace in the Kingdom (1 Co. 7: 15c; Ro. 14:17). It is the choice to remain unmarried for Christ’s sake, hence a eunuch for the Kingdom’s sake. In a sense, this forced dissolution of a marriage is forced upon the believer. It is a condition over which he has no control, much like becoming a physical eunuch is beyond the decision of the person involved. (Fowler)

Another plausible scenario pertains to the penitent adulterer from whom his or her innocent spouse divorced; our Lord made no provision for the remarriage of that adulterer (Matthew 19:9). Referring to Matthew 19:12, Andrew Connally commented, “If the guilty are as free to remarry as the innocent, then God really has no laws of marriage at all and the ‘except for the cause of fornication’ becomes meaningless!” (48). Likewise, Hugo McCord noted that properly for an adulterer to comply with Jesus’ instructions must make himself or herself essentially a eunuch respecting prospects of remarriage (31).

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Yet, one may voluntarily choose not to marry if he or she has neither the desire nor the need to do so, or if that one can abstain from fleshly yearnings while dedicating oneself more fully to the service of our Lord. In addition, numerous circumstances may prevent a person from entering into a marriage (e.g., distressing times, lack of opportunity, biblically prohibited, etc.). In these cases, some may become, figuratively speaking, “eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.”

Works Cited

Boles, H. Leo. A Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew. Gospel Advocate Commentaries. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2011.

Connally, Andrew M. “Divorce and Remarriage.” CD-ROM. Spiritual Sword. Oct 1971, 44-49.

Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 3. Bible Study Textbook Series. CD-ROM. Joplin: College P., 1978.

McCord, Hugo. “Does a Divorced Person Sin When He Marries Again?” CD-ROM. Spiritual Sword. Apr 1995, 30-32.

Webster, Allen. “All Men Are Amenable to God’s Pattern for Marriage.” Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Curtis A. Cates, ed. CD-ROM. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 1994, 402-427.

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