J B Phillips on Lack of Appreciation of Communion

Following on from yesterday’s post, Phillips in these quotes diagnosed (50+ years ago) a problem which is common in evangelical churches. I cite these quotes as a part of the call to reconsider our practice of communion so that we might appreciate anew the value of this practice which Christ Himself commanded, and which He apparently thought we would benefit from.

“But, if the truth were told … there is a good proportion of people to whom Communion is very little more than a sacred duty. . . . They continue to be Communicants out of a sense of duty or loyalty, but somehow the glowing, precious secret which is plainly experienced by others seems to elude them.” (5)

“But we cannot make any progress spiritually without the most uncompromising honesty. We could save ourselves and the Church at large a great deal of unhappiness, unreality, and inward dissatisfaction if we dared to use the clean cold sword of truth. If Communion is in fact largely a disappointment to us, let us have the courage to admit to ourselves and to God that this is so.” (6)

“The early Christians found their deepest fellowship with their unseen Lord as well as with one another in what began as a very simple rite.” (11)

“To put it quite bluntly, evangelical Protestants have been so busy saying what the Holy Communion is not that they have left themselves sometimes with a sterile bundle of denials, and very little positive doctrine.” (12)

J.B. Phillips, Appointment With God: Some Thoughts on Holy Communion

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