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The Lord's Supper as a Means of Grace: More Than a Memory

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Richard Barcellos' specific focus is to show us how the Lord's Supper is a means of grace. The study is divided under four headings - 1. The terminology connected to the Lord's Supper in the New Testament. 2. The Biblical data that supports the Lord's Supper as a means of grace. 3. The confessional formulation of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace in the reformed tradit Richard Barcellos' specific focus is to show us how the Lord's Supper is a means of grace. The study is divided under four headings - 1. The terminology connected to the Lord's Supper in the New Testament. 2. The Biblical data that supports the Lord's Supper as a means of grace. 3. The confessional formulation of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace in the reformed tradition and 4. Final Thoughts.


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Richard Barcellos' specific focus is to show us how the Lord's Supper is a means of grace. The study is divided under four headings - 1. The terminology connected to the Lord's Supper in the New Testament. 2. The Biblical data that supports the Lord's Supper as a means of grace. 3. The confessional formulation of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace in the reformed tradit Richard Barcellos' specific focus is to show us how the Lord's Supper is a means of grace. The study is divided under four headings - 1. The terminology connected to the Lord's Supper in the New Testament. 2. The Biblical data that supports the Lord's Supper as a means of grace. 3. The confessional formulation of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace in the reformed tradition and 4. Final Thoughts.

30 review for The Lord's Supper as a Means of Grace: More Than a Memory

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luis Dizon

    Richard Barcellos has provided an insightful new text on sacramentology from a Reformed Baptist perspective that delves into the idea of the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace, whereby Christians are sanctified and brought closer to Christ. As the title indicates, this book explains how the Lord’s Supper is more than just a “memorial.” It shows biblically how the Supper is used by God as a way to spiritually nourish the believer’s soul, much the same way prayer and the reading/preaching of Script Richard Barcellos has provided an insightful new text on sacramentology from a Reformed Baptist perspective that delves into the idea of the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace, whereby Christians are sanctified and brought closer to Christ. As the title indicates, this book explains how the Lord’s Supper is more than just a “memorial.” It shows biblically how the Supper is used by God as a way to spiritually nourish the believer’s soul, much the same way prayer and the reading/preaching of Scripture do the same in a Christian’s life. The book begins in chapter 1 by talking about various terminology associated with the supper, such as “Breaking of Bread,” “Eucharist,” (from the use of the verb for “giving thanks” in Matt. 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-24, and 1 Cor. 11:23-26) and “Communion” (from the use of the word “koinonia” to describe the Supper in 1 Cor. 10:16) illuminate the different dimensions of the Supper. The latter term is given a more sustained treatment in chapter 2, where Barcellos exegetes 1 Cor. 10-11 and shows how according to Paul, the Supper involves a participation (or communing, depending on how one chooses to translate “koinonia”) in the body and blood Christ, whereby the benefits of his death are received. As he then explains in chapter 3, this is done through the Holy Spirit, who makes all of these means of grace efficient for believers. He then draws a parallel between the Supper and prayer in chapter 4, showing how God operates through both, and how they are connected through the eucharistic prayers given by ministers. Chapter 5 is a historical survey, showing how this these ideas were developed and explicated in the Reformed tradition, and more specifically in the English Particular Baptist stream of the Reformation. Finally, Barcellos draws out the implications of his study in chapter 6, how the Lord’s Supper should be approached, and what all of this means for the practice. Chapter 6 is especially helpful for thinking through how a robust theology of the Lord’s Supper should be exercised in churches. One of the more interesting discussions is on the frequency of communion. Barcellos delves into the question of whether to do it weekly or monthly, and argues that if one viewed the Supper as a means of grace, then that provides a strong impetus for weekly communion, as opposed to the more common Evangelical practice of only administering it once a month, since doing so would bring great benefit for believers who are partaking (after all, we encourage frequent prayer and scripture reading for the same reasons). It is also fascinating how he links the Supper to eschatology—if the Supper is more than just a memorial, then it looks not just backwards to the Cross, but forwards in time to the age to come. In this sense, the Supper helps to orient our thinking towards the what God will accomplish one day. Overall, “The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace” is helpful for anyone who wants to think through how the Lord’s Supper benefits Christians spiritually. The biblical exegesis is excellent (albeit a bit technical at times), and the historical notes help to show that much of what is being said here has been said before, and is actually a reflection of historic Reformed and Baptistic sacramentology.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kaleb Miears

    This book is a good, and I feel necessary read for most evangelicals I am in contact with. The arguement by Barcellos that the Lord's Supper is more than a memorial is well thought out and supported with exegisis of spcripture. I thouroughly enjoyed and would recommend this book to anyone looking to read about the meaning of the Lord's Supper. This book is a good, and I feel necessary read for most evangelicals I am in contact with. The arguement by Barcellos that the Lord's Supper is more than a memorial is well thought out and supported with exegisis of spcripture. I thouroughly enjoyed and would recommend this book to anyone looking to read about the meaning of the Lord's Supper.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Abby Jones

    In this book you will find a comprehensive study of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace and encouragement to view it with a past, present, and future perspective. While this book was a fairly quick read, I think large portions of it went over my head especially in the middle. Even with that it was a valuable and encouraging read. I have felt convicted for a while now about my lack of understanding of the Lord's Supper and the practical chapters at the end were very helpful to me. I plan on re-r In this book you will find a comprehensive study of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace and encouragement to view it with a past, present, and future perspective. While this book was a fairly quick read, I think large portions of it went over my head especially in the middle. Even with that it was a valuable and encouraging read. I have felt convicted for a while now about my lack of understanding of the Lord's Supper and the practical chapters at the end were very helpful to me. I plan on re-reading this book again in the future and recommend it even for the layman.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Adams

    This book was fantastic, and helps recover what is simultaneously the most significant use of The Lord’s Supper and what is the least known and understood use of The Lord’s Supper. To lack a proper understanding and practice of this ordinary means given to the church is to lack a fundamental element of weekly spiritual nourishment, and fail to take hold of blessings obtained by Christ for the good of the church.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Tucker

    A book Baptists need to read. Being one myself (and raised one that) and being mostly convinced of a Calvinistic view of the Lord's Supper I decided to do research about the original perspective of the Baptist- coming to find that it was Calvinistic. Borrowed this book from my professor/boss/kind-of mentor after my research and a conversation with him about it and was really encouraged while reading this book. The book is hermeneutically solid, draws directly from scripture while being historica A book Baptists need to read. Being one myself (and raised one that) and being mostly convinced of a Calvinistic view of the Lord's Supper I decided to do research about the original perspective of the Baptist- coming to find that it was Calvinistic. Borrowed this book from my professor/boss/kind-of mentor after my research and a conversation with him about it and was really encouraged while reading this book. The book is hermeneutically solid, draws directly from scripture while being historically aware, and also draws from the Reformed confessions. At times it was pastoral and tender and caused me to set it down and just marvel at the beauty of the Sacrament. Anyhow, would definitely recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Calvin Coulter

    Great book reaffirming the reformed teaching of communion being more than just a memorial, but rather the means by which God's Holy Spirit delivers grace to the believer. I admit my NT Greek was never good enough to follow the finer nuances of the tenses discussed, but thankfully Barcellos provides English translations. A good read whether you're a Baptist, Presbyterian or belonging to another reformed grouping. Great book reaffirming the reformed teaching of communion being more than just a memorial, but rather the means by which God's Holy Spirit delivers grace to the believer. I admit my NT Greek was never good enough to follow the finer nuances of the tenses discussed, but thankfully Barcellos provides English translations. A good read whether you're a Baptist, Presbyterian or belonging to another reformed grouping.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    The most significant contributions of this book are: 1) the discussion of the role of the Holy Spirit in enabling us to eat and drink Christ's body and blood; 2) the fact that the English Particular Baptist confessions are Calvinistic and not Zwinglian in their Eucharistic Theology. There was also a call for more frequent communion at the end, which made some interesting connections between the Lord's Day and the Lord's Supper. The most significant contributions of this book are: 1) the discussion of the role of the Holy Spirit in enabling us to eat and drink Christ's body and blood; 2) the fact that the English Particular Baptist confessions are Calvinistic and not Zwinglian in their Eucharistic Theology. There was also a call for more frequent communion at the end, which made some interesting connections between the Lord's Day and the Lord's Supper.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt Felton

    Argues that the Lord's Supper is more than a memory - and actually given to the church as a "means of grace". Shows this to be the historic understanding of Reformed churches, including Baptist ones. Important practical conclusions, including: if it is indeed a means of grace (like prayer, like preaching), shouldn't it be celebrated on the *more frequent* side? Argues that the Lord's Supper is more than a memory - and actually given to the church as a "means of grace". Shows this to be the historic understanding of Reformed churches, including Baptist ones. Important practical conclusions, including: if it is indeed a means of grace (like prayer, like preaching), shouldn't it be celebrated on the *more frequent* side?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I grew up not active in church. I was converted as an 18 year old at a typical Southern Baptist Church and began to grow much in my Southern Baptistism…and also some in my Christianity. Even when I was not necessarily growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord, I was most definitely absorbing the culture of, some if not much, of the Southern Baptist world. I bought into the true truth. I knew that it was not a worship song if you couldn’t make motions to go along with it (Youth Group), that conv I grew up not active in church. I was converted as an 18 year old at a typical Southern Baptist Church and began to grow much in my Southern Baptistism…and also some in my Christianity. Even when I was not necessarily growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord, I was most definitely absorbing the culture of, some if not much, of the Southern Baptist world. I bought into the true truth. I knew that it was not a worship song if you couldn’t make motions to go along with it (Youth Group), that conversion is as simple as ABC (VBS), that one method of evangelism is to leave a video for those “Left Behind” (Christian movie nights), that two teenagers holding hands was more dangerous than a conflation of Law and Gospel (summer camp), that those baptized as a baby were definitely lost (pastoral counsel), and that you had not preached the Gospel until you gave an altar call(Christian college). I was a living, breathing, Southern Baptist caricature. And my understanding of the Supper ordinance was exactly what you assume it to be. Sacrament? Pfft, Jesus was sacrificed once for all, thank you very much. Communion? Umm, I think you mean “Lord’s Supper”. It is a somber memorial where Christians look into themselves to see if there is any sin in us that would shame the Lord Jesus. Means of Grace? Woah, woah, woah. We are not, and I mean NOT, saved by works. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbols. They do not convey grace to us. And we aren’t Catholics or Lutherans or Presbys, none of that “As often as you gather together” junk. We do it once a quarter….so it doesn’t become rote. Part of what has faced the young and restless crowd during this resurgence of Reformed Theology is the question of “How ‘Reformed’ are you going to go?” Calvinism is cool. It is the in-thing to grow a beard, embrace unconditional election, smoke a cigar and wax poetic about Puritans and Old Princeton. But those of us who have been influenced by this movement have to wrestle with the big questions. What about Covenant Theology as a whole? How does our eschatology line up with our new understanding of the entirety of Scripture? What is the appropriate way to engage worship? What is the role of the Law in the Christian’s life? What is the biblical form of church government? What about the Christian ordinances of Communion and Baptism? There are a ton of great works on the sacramental nature of communion from a traditional Covenantal perspective. What has been lacking is a solid, accessible defense of this position from the point of view of a Baptist. Richard Barcellos fills this void brilliantly with The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More than a Memory. Barcellos offers a convincing, edifying, biblical, and historical argument for why the Lord’s Supper is more than a memory. He “shows us (in this book) that the Holy Spirit of God brings grace to His people through the channels He has established (including the Supper).” Barcellos warns from the outset that the work he presents is not for the uninitiated. He takes the readers through the deep waters of some complex exegesis including some large sections of Greek. Graciously, he is gentle and accommodating on this trip. He does an excellent job of not allowing this work to get away from those of us who haven’t made it past the alpha, beta, gamma’s of Greek yet. (And those of you who have forgotten most of the Greek you used to know!) Barcellos chooses Pauline theology of the Supper as the focus of his study—and for good reason. While the Gospels “contain the facts of redemption accomplished” the epistles “contain the implications, consequences, and applications of redemption accomplished.” But wait! Maybe you are where I have been and cannot hear “means of grace” without blurting out compulsively, “WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!”(Yep, 2 “!”s) Well, may I encourage you to take a breath? Count to 10 backwards. Go to your happy place, whatever it takes to get back to clear thinking. Barcellos does a fine job of slaying this Roman bogeyman throughout his text and gives a simple, clear definition of “means of grace” with which all who trust the Scriptures can be comfortable. “Means of grace”, according to Barcellos, is “God’s delivery systems through which that which was acquired for us gets distributed or delivered to or in us.” Berkhof’s comment on the Supper as a means of grace helps clarify the position. The Lord’s Supper is intended for believers and for believers only, and therefore is not instrumental in originating the work of grace in the heart of the sinner. The presence of the grace of God is presupposed in the hearts of the participants. Jesus administered it to His professed followers only; according to Acts 2:42, 46 they who believed continued steadfastly in the breaking of bread; and in 1 Cor. 11:28, 29 the necessity of self-examination before partaking of the Lord’s Supper is stressed. The grace received in the sacrament does not differ in kind from that which believers receive through the instrumentality of the Word. The sacrament merely adds to the effectiveness of the Word, and therefore to the measure of the grace received. It is the grace of an ever closer fellowship with Christ, of spiritual nourishment and quickening, and of an ever increasing assurance of salvation. (Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 654) One way Barcellos seeks to give us a fuller understanding of the Supper is to look at why we call it “the Supper”….or “Communion”…or “Eucharist”…and all other language associated with the meal from Scripture. One of the reasons many of us do not place an emphasis on the Lord’s Supper is due to the fact that we have a very reductionist understanding of a topic that is, in Scripture, quite robust. Barcellos wants the reader to see how communion occurs at the meal, not just communion between believers but communion with Christ, vertical rather than simply horizontal koinonia. He argues from Scripture that believers participate, in a present and active sense, in the Supper with Christ. To support his thesis of the Supper as a means of grace he offers an argument from Ephesians 3 about prayer as a means of grace. Barcellos’ conclusion is pretty self-evident: “According to Paul, prayer is a means through which the Father sends grace procured by the Son to the souls of men delivered by the Spirit. Paul views prayer as a means of grace in a Trinitarian economy of redemption.” But Barcellos wants the reader to not fall into the trap of Rome, the trap that so many Evangelicals are rebounding so violently against. “(Prayer) is a means of grace, though it does not work ex opere operato. God remains the sovereign granter who grants what is requested at his pleasure.” The Supper is just the same. Just as prayer does not work ex opere operato, neither does the Supper. Both the Lord’s Supper and prayer are a means of grace through which the Spirit of God brings soul-nourishing and faith-strengthening blessings from heaven to Christ’s people on earth by the blessing by God. Barcellos, building on this point of the Supper not operating ex opera operato, makes the statement that “(t)he Supper benefits believers alone.” I am not sure I can get there with him. Does the Supper offer communal benefits to unbelievers? Certainly not. His emphasizing the fact that this is not some magical formula for access to the divine, regardless of faith, is important. But, I also believe there is a testimonial benefit to the Supper, even to the unbeliever. The Gospel being proclaimed visually in the Supper is bound to be used by God as a means to bring repentance and faith to some unbelievers who witness this meal. How could such a clear presentation of the Gospel not inevitably lead to the conversion of some who witness it? I think Barcellos would agree and I would have enjoyed seeing this highlighted at this point. Barcellos closes with an admonition to which I offer a hearty “amen and amen!” After summarizing his overwhelming case for the Supper as a means of God’s grace, Barcellos says, If the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace through which the Holy Spirit brings to the souls of believers the benefits of Christ’s body and blood and, as a result, souls are nourished, then we ought to think seriously about its frequency. Barcellos quotes Michael Horton in his suggestion that a “diminished interest in frequent communion is the product of an inordinate emphasis upon ‘the individual’s inner piety’. “ Horton’s quote is worth re-quoting in its entirety, The problem with the pietistic version of the Lord’s Supper, therefore, is that in its obsession with the individual’s inner piety, it loses much of the import of the feast as a sacred meal that actually binds us to Christ and to each other. Instead of viewing it first as God’s saving action toward us and then our fellowship with each other in Christ, we come to see it as just another opportunity to be threatened with the Law. Instead of celebrating the foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb on Mount Zion we are still trembling on the foot of Mount Sinai. It is no wonder, then, that there is a diminished interest in frequent communion. (God of Promise,160-161 ) If Horton’s phrase “God’s saving action towards us” causes some hesitation, Herman Bavinck offers a good clarification that is helpful. The Lord’s Supper is a spiritual meal at which Christ feeds our souls with his crucified body and shed blood. Eating and drinking them serves to strengthen our spiritual, that is, our eternal life, for those who eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood have eternal life and are raised up on the last day (John 6:54). (Reformed Dogmatics, Vol 4 pg 579) Barcellos is right to warn the reader that this work will require a bit of effort and the ability to follow a detailed exegetical and theological argument, but he leads the reader magnificently and I feel comfortable encouraging any who are even the least bit interested to take the chance and make the effort. The effort will undoubtedly bear much fruit. Barcellos said in his introduction that, The subject matter of this book is vitally important for confessional Reformed churches and all other local churches. I am convinced from the word of God that the Lord’s Supper is a vital part of local church life because it was ordained by the Lord Jesus to be a means of grace and more than a memory. I hope you will agree with me once I am finished. I don’t know how anyone could honestly read this book and not agree with him at the finish. Enjoy this work and restore the Supper to its proper place in your thought and worship. I received a review copy if this book from Christian Focus publishing to offer an honest review. I am buying copies to give as gifts because I think God will use this work mightily in many people’s lives!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    when we take the Lord’s Supper, it is a covenantal renewal meal. It does not bring us into covenant with God; it reminds us that we are in covenant with him through Christ and enhances that covenantal bond Michael Horton says: The Lord’s Supper, then, is a covenant meal. That means that while it is first of all a ratification of God’s pledge to us, it also ratifies our pledge to God and to each other. It has both vertical and horizontal dimensions. 7 1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing when we take the Lord’s Supper, it is a covenantal renewal meal. It does not bring us into covenant with God; it reminds us that we are in covenant with him through Christ and enhances that covenantal bond Michael Horton says: The Lord’s Supper, then, is a covenant meal. That means that while it is first of all a ratification of God’s pledge to us, it also ratifies our pledge to God and to each other. It has both vertical and horizontal dimensions. 7 1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? ... This may be the most important text on the nature of the Lord’s Supper as means of grace in the New Testament (certainly in Paul’s letters). Anthony Thiselton argues for a vertical emphasis for koinonia here and translates it ‘communal participation.’ Commenting on this text, he says: Communal participation may seem to make heavy weather out of Gk. κοινωνίαν [ koinoniav ], which is usually translated fellowship. But the use of fellowship in church circles may convey an impression quite foreign to Paul’s distinctive emphasis. He does not refer to a society or group of like- minded people, such as a Graeco- Roman societas . Certain specific uses of the word may have this meaning (e.g., Rom 15:27), but not this type of passage. Normally in Paul the word means communal participation in that of which all participants are shareholders, or are accorded a common share. It is not simply or primarily the experience of being together as Christians which is shared [emphases added], but the status of being- in- Christ and of being shareholders in a sonship derived from the sonship of Christ. Just as the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:13) means participating in the sharing out of the Spirit (which then secondarily gives rise to fellowship experience within a community), so the fellowship of his Son (1 Cor. 1:9) means communal participation in the sonship of Jesus Christ. 10 Thiselton further adds it means ‘having an active common share in the life, death, resurrection and presence of Jesus Christ as the Lord.’ 13 Ernst Käsemann observes, ‘Whatever objections may be raised against the term “Real Presence,” it expresses what Paul wants to say.’ 14 What these men are saying is that koinonia in 1 Corinthians 10:16 expresses a vertical, top- down reality, a reality connected to ‘the blood’ and ‘the body of Christ’. Paul’s emphasis is not that believers are together when they partake of the Lord’s Supper (though that is true), it is that koinonia constitutes some sort of relationship with ‘the blood’ and ‘the body of Christ’. Malcolm Maclean asserts, ‘This passage indicates that there is real fellowship between Christ and his people at the Supper.’ 29 Though it is not a converting ordinance, the Supper is a sanctifying ordinance. Like the Word of God and prayer, it is a means through which grace comes to us from Christ. It is not a means of special grace, but a special means of grace. Ephesians 1:3. Here is the NASB. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.’ this may well be the highest biblical ground for worship prompted by the contemplation of what the triune God has done for believers from before the foundation of the world, what he has done in space and time in the world (culminating in the work of the Son), and finally what he does in bringing purchased redemption to the souls of men. Here God is blessed for trinitarian redemption purposed, purchased, and applied. prepositional phrases and participles play key roles in the development of the pericope. the triune operation of the triune God is introduced: the Father who blesses – the Son, in whom those blessings are conferred – and the Spirit, by whose inner work they are enjoyed, and from whom they receive their distinctive epithet.’ In Ephesians 1:3 (and 2 Cor. 1:3 and 1 Peter 1:3), ‘… the ground for blessing God is similarly expressed by a participial clause.’ 20 Why is God the Father blessed? Because he has blessed us. But how has he blessed us? This brings us to the elements for which we ought to praise the Father. Paul is giving us three reasons or grounds for God to be praised by believers – 1) because he blessed us ‘with every Spiritual blessing’, 2) because he blessed us ‘in the heavens’, and 3) because he blessed us ‘in Christ’. Eadie says: Now the gospel, or the Mediatorial reign, is ‘the kingdom of heaven.’ That kingdom or reign of God is ‘in us,’ or among us. Heaven is brought near to man through Jesus Christ. Those spiritual blessings conferred on us create heaven within us …; for wherever the light and love of God’s presence are to be enjoyed, there is heaven. If such blessings are the one Spirit’s inworking, – that Spirit who in God’s name ‘takes of the things that are Christ’s and shows them unto us,’ – then His influence diffuses the atmosphere of heaven around us. the Holy Spirit brings heavenly blessings to the souls of believers (1:3). He does this due to the fact that Christ procured these blessings through his blood (1:7). Redemption accomplished means blessings for those redeemed. Redemption benefits the redeemed in this life and in the life- to- come. The benefits of redemption through Christ’s blood are brought to the souls of elect sinners. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The benefits of Christ’s blood and body (1 Cor. 10:16) are spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3), brought to souls by the Spirit of Christ. Through the Lord’s Supper, communion with Christ and the benefits of his blood and body takes place. This communion is effected by the Holy Spirit, the bearer of blessings from the Father because of the work of the Son. This is how the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace. It was instituted by Christ and is blessed by the Spirit of Christ to the nourishment of our pilgrim souls. When we take the Supper, it is the Spirit of Christ who brings the benefits of Christ to the people of Christ. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Ephesians 3:14- 21 contains Paul’s second prayer in Ephesians. He announces this prayer explicitly in 3:14, ‘For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.’ He identifies to whom he is praying in 3:14b, 15, ‘… the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.’ The content of his prayer is found in 3:16- 19 and its conclusion, a doxology, in 3:20- 21. It hinges upon three ἵνα ( hina ) clauses. Though there is disagreement as to how these clauses function, I think a good case can be made for a threefold prayer. 3 The clauses under consideration are in 3:16, ‘that He would grant you …’ (ἵνα δῷ ὑμῖν), 3:17b- 18a, ‘ and that you, …, may be able to comprehend …’ (ἵνα ἐξισχύσητε καταλαβέσθαι [The Greek text has ἵνα ( hina ) at the beginning of verse 18]), and in the middle of 3:19, ‘that you may be filled …’ (ἵνα πληρωθῆτε). These three ἵνα ( hina ) clauses function as indicators of the threefold content of Paul’s prayer. 4 The function of this clause is also debated. Is it a third petition or does it relate directly and subordinately to the second petition and maybe even the first? The NKJV may help us at this point. It inserts semicolons immediately prior to the word ‘that’ in the middle of verses 17 and 19. This indicates transition from one petition to the next. Here is the NKJV: 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:16- 19 NKJV; emphasis added) 8 Understood this way, Paul’s petition has three aspects or parts. I prefer this understanding of the text. Paul prays for spiritual invigoration in 3:16- 17, spiritual education in 3:18- 19a, and spiritual saturation in 3:19b. Eadie says: … He gives like Himself, not grudgingly or in tiny portions, as if He were afraid to exhaust His riches, or even suspected them to be limited in their contents. There is no fastidious scrupulosity or anxious frugality on the part of the Divine Benefactor. His bounty proclaims His conscious possession of immeasurable resources. He bestows according to the riches of His glory – His own infinite fulness. 10 The Holy Spirit (i.e., the Spirit of the Father in this text) is the divine means through which spiritual invigoration comes to souls on the earth. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to invigorate Christians, to infuse them with power, to deliver blessings from heaven to earth. The Spirit of God is the divine agent through which power comes to souls through prayer. Prayer is a means through which the Father grants the Holy Spirit to bring spiritual invigoration to souls. On the one hand, Christ dwells in all believers. On the other hand, through the ministry of the Spirit, who strengthens or nourishes faith, faith becomes a means (διὰ τῆς πίστεως [‘through faith’]; dia with the genitive case expressing means) through which that dwelling is known. It is the means through which the knowledge or sense of his presence is enhanced in our hearts. We are enabled to believe that which is always true of us (i.e., Christ dwells in us) by the work of the Spirit in us as a result of prayer to the Father. Both initial (saving) and subsequent (sanctifying) faith are results of the Spirit’s work in us. Other texts in Paul which illustrate prayer as a means of grace: Romans 15:30- 31 2 Corinthians 1:8- 11 Ephesians 1:15- 17 Philippians 1:9- 11 At the Supper, the minister prays. He thanks God for the bread and the cup (1 Cor. 11:23- 25) and asks his blessings upon the ordinance. In turn, the Spirit is a means through which that which is symbolized by the bread and cup – the benefits of Christ’s death – is brought to the souls of believers (1 Cor. 10:16) by the blessing of God. The Spirit brings that which the Father has blessed us with in Christ and he does that through the means of grace as he pleases. Just as prayer does not work ex opere operato , neither does the Supper. Both the Lord’s Supper and prayer are means of grace through which the Spirit of God brings soul- nourishing and faith- strengthening blessings from heaven to Christ’s people on the earth by the blessing of God. The Holy Supper nourishes and supports ‘those whom he hath already regenerated and incorporated into his family’. It is not a converting ordinance but a sanctifying one. Saving faith is a grace- gift, the effect of the Spirit’s work in the hearts of God’s elect. It ‘is ordinarily wrought’ in the heart as a gift by the Spirit of Christ in conjunction with ‘the ministry of the word’ of God. Subsequent to the initial work of the Spirit in conjunction with the word, the word of God, ‘the sacraments [i.e., baptism and the Lord’s Supper], and prayer’ are means through which saving faith ‘is increased and strengthened.’ Faith ‘is increased and strengthened’ through the Supper because it is a means of grace. The Lord’s Supper points us back to ‘the sacrifice of himself’. It is a memorial of the death of Christ. It benefits ‘true believers’. It causes ‘spiritual growth and nourishment in him’. It is related to ‘their communion with him’. It benefits ‘worthy receivers’ or believers alone. Believers ‘inwardly by faith, really and indeed The Supper is more than a memory. It is a means through which Christ comes to souls. ‘The Lord’s Supper is an occasion when the Lord Jesus feeds the souls of his people, thus making the meal a means of grace.’ ‘The Supper is a means of grace for the weak, not a reward for the strong.’ 14 Because it is a means of grace for believing sinners, though seriousness and reverence and awe are certainly appropriate, joy 15 and hope ought to have their place as well because we are feasting upon Christ, further tasting that the Lord is good, and being helped along as pilgrims in a foreign land. Steve Weaver says: While arguing for the priority of baptism before the Lord’s Supper in the life of the believer, Kiffin describes baptism as ‘the Sacrament of Spiritual Birth ’ and the Lord’s Supper as the sacrament of ‘Spiritual Nourishment or Growth ’ by which believers are Spiritually fed . 23

  11. 4 out of 5

    John

    This book is more of an extended essay, than book. The title describes the book remarkably well, as Barcellos repeats over and over--the Lord's Supper is more than a memory, but is a means of grace for the believer. The book actually gets a bit repetitive on this point, as he nails this idea into the minds of his readers. That being said, his case is quite compelling--particularly when he reviews four of the major catechisms of the church, which show this is no new teaching, but has been around s This book is more of an extended essay, than book. The title describes the book remarkably well, as Barcellos repeats over and over--the Lord's Supper is more than a memory, but is a means of grace for the believer. The book actually gets a bit repetitive on this point, as he nails this idea into the minds of his readers. That being said, his case is quite compelling--particularly when he reviews four of the major catechisms of the church, which show this is no new teaching, but has been around since at least shortly after the Reformation. The book is largely an articulation of this one central idea: "the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace because of what the Holy Spirit does in the souls of believers when local churches partake of it." To argue this point, he looks primarily at 1 Corinthians, but reviews many other texts as well. His pastoral thoughts at the end were the best part of the book, where he argues that if the Lord's Supper is more than a memorial, a case I believe he makes successfully, than a few things follow. First, the meal is a celebration, and not a time for self-examination. Instead, self-examination ought to be done beforehand, giving the believer time to "remedy any problems between church members (or in our own souls)." Additionally, the meal ought to be partaken of frequently. He isn't as dogmatic on this point as I think his position warrants, but I appreciate any time the church is poked about more frequent communion. All in all, this is a short work that successfully argues that the Lord's Supper is more than a memorial and thus requires us to take it more seriously than we do. Barcellos is up front early in the book that he will engage in exegesis of the New Testament in Greek, and he does so. So for those of us (like me!) who have never studied Greek, well... it was all Greek to me. ;) That being said, the premise of the book does not hang on one's knowledge of Greek.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is actually a great little gem about a study of the sacrament of the Eucharist(or communion, or the Lord's supper), from a Reformed Baptist point of view. I would have liked it to be a bit longer, as it was a fascinating read. I missed a chapter about how this idea of "as a means of grace: more than a memory" is compared to the wider Christian tradition, as well as a more in-depth focus on the gospel accounts rather than this focus mainly on Paul. Still, it feels like enough. Richard C. Bar This is actually a great little gem about a study of the sacrament of the Eucharist(or communion, or the Lord's supper), from a Reformed Baptist point of view. I would have liked it to be a bit longer, as it was a fascinating read. I missed a chapter about how this idea of "as a means of grace: more than a memory" is compared to the wider Christian tradition, as well as a more in-depth focus on the gospel accounts rather than this focus mainly on Paul. Still, it feels like enough. Richard C. Barcellos manages to be accessible, exegetical, formulaic and even catechism like in the end for a few questions. It's on point. I like it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Short, quick moving book defending the Lord's Supper as more than just a memory but a real means of grace. I think the author does a good job making his case and whether you agree or not you will leave with a fresh appreciation for the Supper. Spends a decent amount of time exegeting texts from Ephesians to show the Spirit's involvement in the Supper. If you are studying the Lord's Supper this book should be involved. Short, quick moving book defending the Lord's Supper as more than just a memory but a real means of grace. I think the author does a good job making his case and whether you agree or not you will leave with a fresh appreciation for the Supper. Spends a decent amount of time exegeting texts from Ephesians to show the Spirit's involvement in the Supper. If you are studying the Lord's Supper this book should be involved.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rich Kier

    The Lord's supper IS a means of Grace I have felt for a long time that the way communion was done (I hesitate to say celebrated) was lacking something. It seemed to be something "tracked on" to the ordinary service. Sometimes once a month; or in one church I attended, at the pastor's whim. This book resonated with my spirit - it gives me the reason for my discontent as well as the way to really celebrate communion. The Lord's supper IS a means of Grace I have felt for a long time that the way communion was done (I hesitate to say celebrated) was lacking something. It seemed to be something "tracked on" to the ordinary service. Sometimes once a month; or in one church I attended, at the pastor's whim. This book resonated with my spirit - it gives me the reason for my discontent as well as the way to really celebrate communion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Keith Willis

    The exegesis in this book alone makes it worth reading. The pastoral applications and words in the final chapter are also stimulating. I would have liked to have heard more of what he thinks memory to be or how the Baptist came to a place of calling it a memorial. My hunch is that the development of thought that led to the meal being called a memory would only add to the weight the author is giving to the meal as a means of grace.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Bratton

    This book highlights the importance of the Lord's Supper and explains well that and how it is a 'means of grace'. Chapters 2-4 give thorough exegesis on three passages of scripture that are helpful to this explanation. In reading through these passages it will be helpful to have an understanding for Greek and grammar. It is not necessary, but it will make those portions less tedious. This book highlights the importance of the Lord's Supper and explains well that and how it is a 'means of grace'. Chapters 2-4 give thorough exegesis on three passages of scripture that are helpful to this explanation. In reading through these passages it will be helpful to have an understanding for Greek and grammar. It is not necessary, but it will make those portions less tedious.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    This was definitely a hard book to read, with it's in depth discussions of Greek translations and grammar. I do believe the intended audience is pastors, so that isn't really a concern. I did feel like the author was speaking a different language sometimes, and it wasn't Greek... It was grammar 😂 But!! It is definitely worth any Christian's time to reflect on The Lord's supper and I do think this book covered some very helpful points. I was blessed especially by my congregation's book study and This was definitely a hard book to read, with it's in depth discussions of Greek translations and grammar. I do believe the intended audience is pastors, so that isn't really a concern. I did feel like the author was speaking a different language sometimes, and it wasn't Greek... It was grammar 😂 But!! It is definitely worth any Christian's time to reflect on The Lord's supper and I do think this book covered some very helpful points. I was blessed especially by my congregation's book study and the discussions that it generated ☺️ I have grown in my appreciation for this means of grace!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Batchelor

    Barcellos provides a helpful section on how the Spirit applies the benefits of Christ's work to us. I agree with Barcellos that the Lord's Supper is a mean's of grace; however, I wouldn't include this on my short list of introductions to the Lord's Supper. Barcellos provides a helpful section on how the Spirit applies the benefits of Christ's work to us. I agree with Barcellos that the Lord's Supper is a mean's of grace; however, I wouldn't include this on my short list of introductions to the Lord's Supper.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rich Shannon

    Excellent work on the Lord's Supper as a means of grace This work opened my eyes to what the Scriptures says about the Lord's Supper and what the historical church thought about it in regards to it being a means of grace. I highly recommend this work. Excellent work on the Lord's Supper as a means of grace This work opened my eyes to what the Scriptures says about the Lord's Supper and what the historical church thought about it in regards to it being a means of grace. I highly recommend this work.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    If you believe the Lords Supper is only symbolic, you should read this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Burks

    Remarkable book. I sympathize with Reformed Forum's review of the book. Phenomenal exegesis, showing Reformed sacrementology is rooted in Scripture. Remarkable book. I sympathize with Reformed Forum's review of the book. Phenomenal exegesis, showing Reformed sacrementology is rooted in Scripture.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dane Jöhannsson

    Helpful but not as extensive as I hoped. Left some questions, such as, "HOW is it a means of grace?", unanswered. Helpful but not as extensive as I hoped. Left some questions, such as, "HOW is it a means of grace?", unanswered.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wilson Hines

    Read this a few months ago and forgot to log it. Great read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Josh Robinson

    This book is great. After reading this book, I can say that I have a much greater appreciation for the Lord's Supper. I grew up in a church that badly neglected The Lords Table, and after reading Barcellos, I have a better understanding just how essential partaking in this means of grace is for our spiritual health, and most important of all, I feel a much more intimate relationship with the Lord in partaking of the Table now. For the book to be so short, it's quite thorough, which I found surpr This book is great. After reading this book, I can say that I have a much greater appreciation for the Lord's Supper. I grew up in a church that badly neglected The Lords Table, and after reading Barcellos, I have a better understanding just how essential partaking in this means of grace is for our spiritual health, and most important of all, I feel a much more intimate relationship with the Lord in partaking of the Table now. For the book to be so short, it's quite thorough, which I found surprising. Barcellos does a solid job exegeting passages of Scripture and demonstrating that Paul understood the Supper to be a means by which God delivers grace and spiritual nourishment to His church, and we should understand it as this as well. We can look to the great Confessions of Faith as bring faithful to Scripture in their understanding of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace. The only reason why I did not rate it 5 stars is because it could be a difficult read to those who don't have a basic of Greek. Thankfully, I at least have a basic understanding, so it wasn't difficult for me to follow. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a short, yet through understanding of the Lord's Supper as a means of grace. It might be my first recommendation for someone a little futher along in their walk with the Lord. I don't think it would be the first book I would recommend to someone who is still a babe in the faith, but I would recommend it as a book to work up to. Overall, a great book that will enhance your walk and relationship with the Lord.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patrick McWilliams

    There are very few books I can recommend without a single caveat or reservation. Richard Barcellos’ new book, The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More than a Memory, is one of them. Writing in an incredibly clear, straightforward style (unlike so many other theological works these days), Barcellos spells out exactly what his aims are in this book: to demonstrate how the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace to the faith of believers in Jesus Christ. He then proceeds to do exactly There are very few books I can recommend without a single caveat or reservation. Richard Barcellos’ new book, The Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace: More than a Memory, is one of them. Writing in an incredibly clear, straightforward style (unlike so many other theological works these days), Barcellos spells out exactly what his aims are in this book: to demonstrate how the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace to the faith of believers in Jesus Christ. He then proceeds to do exactly that, presenting arguments based on sound exegesis of several Scripture passages. He then turns to historical Reformed Confessions and Catechisms to show that he’s not presenting a novel idea, but rather perhaps reminding his readers of what has often been forgotten. Key points include the meaning of “communion,” how the Spirit applies Christ’s work to our souls, and how prayer (also a means of grace) is crucial to our understanding of the sacraments. I heartily recommend this book for the following people: students, teachers, pastors, Baptists who want to understand historic Baptist doctrine, PCA members, Roman Catholics, students of biblical Greek, bloggers, anyone who wants to understand the distinction between an “ordinance” and a “sacrament” (it’s probably not what you think), and basically everyone else. More than a mem’ry Grace transcending time and space All should read this book

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie Bliss

    This scholarly treatise on the Lord's Supper being a means of grace was excellent. Pastor Barcellos did an excellent job using scripture, confessions and catechisms to all prove the point that the Spirit is actively working through the Lord's table to strengthen our faith as Christians. I came away edified and look forward even more now too taking of the Lord's Supper again, knowing and appreciating its significance all the more. I especially liked the conclusions/applications drawn at the end th This scholarly treatise on the Lord's Supper being a means of grace was excellent. Pastor Barcellos did an excellent job using scripture, confessions and catechisms to all prove the point that the Spirit is actively working through the Lord's table to strengthen our faith as Christians. I came away edified and look forward even more now too taking of the Lord's Supper again, knowing and appreciating its significance all the more. I especially liked the conclusions/applications drawn at the end that A) you should come to the Lord's table freely (as a believer) regardless of what your week's been like (or even your morning) - that just like praying or reading the Word of God, the Lord's Supper is meant to encourage and give you hope in Christ's redemptive work, and is not condemning or something you should feel unworthy of; and B) just like reading God's Word or praying, the Lord's Table is an event that should happen frequently as a means of grace, not put off or made infrequent (because we fear it will become a routine/habit and lose significance). It doesn't make sense to do that with the other means of grace, so why do that with the Lord's Supper?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Helpful little book in understanding a reformed means of grace view on the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper being a means of grace means that God provides spiritual blessing to the believer when he partakes of the Lord's Supper. Barcellos argues well from historic Christians creeds and confessions and parallels the Lord's Supper with prayer as a means of grace. Exegetically, Barcellos's argument hinges on his interpretation of Ephesians 1:3 and how much "the blessings in the heavenlies" are reali Helpful little book in understanding a reformed means of grace view on the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper being a means of grace means that God provides spiritual blessing to the believer when he partakes of the Lord's Supper. Barcellos argues well from historic Christians creeds and confessions and parallels the Lord's Supper with prayer as a means of grace. Exegetically, Barcellos's argument hinges on his interpretation of Ephesians 1:3 and how much "the blessings in the heavenlies" are realized now in the life of the believer vs being in a future glorified state. I think the Lord's Supper is a memorial and somewhat more than a just a memory. But how much more will require further study into the topic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Luke

    Whilst I have some sympathy with Barcellos' view this was a very disappointing presentation of it. The Means of Grace seemed to be his interpretive principle rather than the conclusion he came to. Two passages in Ephesians were presented with tortuous exegesis followed by rabbit from the hat conclusions about the Supper as a means of grace. Furthermore he did not explain what this grace was or how it is available to us in ways that it is not otherwise available. John Owen on the Lord's Supper of Whilst I have some sympathy with Barcellos' view this was a very disappointing presentation of it. The Means of Grace seemed to be his interpretive principle rather than the conclusion he came to. Two passages in Ephesians were presented with tortuous exegesis followed by rabbit from the hat conclusions about the Supper as a means of grace. Furthermore he did not explain what this grace was or how it is available to us in ways that it is not otherwise available. John Owen on the Lord's Supper offers a much more helpful presentation of this position.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pete Williamson

    A very manageable and well-presented explanation and working out of the Lord's Supper. A valuable book for both pastors and members of the congregation. A very manageable and well-presented explanation and working out of the Lord's Supper. A valuable book for both pastors and members of the congregation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Clear, helpful, Biblical, and at times, worshipful.

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