Confession of Faith (1617) - Article XXII
Of the Lord's Supper or the breaking of bread, we believe and confess:
As baptism is an ordinance and institution of the Lord, by which believers are united with each other by one Spirit in fellowship with Christ; so the Supper is a worthy ordinance and institution of Christ, by which believers who have been baptized according to the ordinance of Christ, are taught and admonished, to live and walk in Christ even as they have received Him by faith in baptism, and to be bound by brotherly love to their neighbors, with whom they are to live and walk in the unity of the Spirit, according to the same rule of the divine word; and that they are to remember hereby, with heartfelt contemplation, the bitter suffering and death of the Lord.
And in order to put men in remembrance of this, it pleased the Lord Jesus for this purpose to use bread and wine, things well known among men, and thereby to implant into the hearts of believers heavenly and hidden things; thereby teaching men to remember, that, as bread from many broken grains is made into one bread and the wine being pressed from many grapes and made one beverage thereby being necessary, useful and adapted as food and drink for the body of man; even so Christ, from ardent love, suffered Himself to be broken on the cross, His blood to be shed, and trod the winepress of suffering alone, to minister by His flesh and blood, as necessary meat and drink, to the souls of men; by which we are taught, that like as bread is of many grains broken and prepared as bread, and wine is of many grapes pressed and made a beverage; so also, many believers, from various places, are by one faith become one bread or church, and bound together in fellowship; in order that thereby all those who worthily receive, and eat and drink with the mouth this bread and wine, may hereby through faith in the Spirit, receive, and become partakers of Christ and all His heavenly riches, and thus be strengthened in the faith, fed in the soul, and be bound together by fervent love, with God and their neighbors, as members of one body.
But believers must in no wise place any confidence in these visible memorials, as though they in themselves were more sacred and worthy than other like, common meat and drink, or had power to give unto men grace and forgiveness of sins. By so doing one should depart with the heart from his Creator, and seek grace from the creature, where it is not to be found. But believers must receive these signs as nothing more than bread and wine, confide with a firm heart only in that which is thereby taught and signified and look upon and regard these signs as figures, as the Holy Ghost is wont, in the Holy Scriptures, to call the signs, that which is signified by them. And as in this institution of the Supper by Christ the cup is called the New Testament in His blood, which cup is really not the New Testament itself, but is figuratively so called, because the blood of Christ which He shed for the sin of the world, is proclaimed and recommended to us through the New Testament; which signifies, that as a testator by a testament bequeaths to his heirs his property, which they are to receive and enjoy after his death; so has Christ in His last Supper -- since He could not remain with them -- bequeathed His last will in the New Testament, together with all its heavenly riches, to His friends and followers; in order that all those who in this testament are specified and recorded as children of God and heirs of Christ, shall enjoy His glorious riches; whereupon they receive in the Supper, with the mouth, only natural bread and wine; but through faith there is received, according to the Spirit, Christ's flesh and blood, which He gave as an atonement for the human race, of which the natural bread and wine, and the Supper are figures, signs, and representations.
Hence, believers are to use this worthy institution of Christ among each other, and thereby through an ordained blameless minister, proclaim with great reverence the bitter suffering and death of the Lord.
And after God has been thanked with an humble heart, for His boundless grace and mercy, and been called upon by fervent prayers, the bread shall be broken by the minister, the wine poured out, and be received by all believers baptized according to the ordinance of Christ, and each shall, examining himself, use and avail himself of the same, with heartfelt contemplation of the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus. This shall constantly be observed by believers in this manner, when time and place permit, until the appearing of Jesus Christ from heaven.
Of this institution and ordinance of Christ, read: "And as they were eating, 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; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26-26-29; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19).
How the apostles in accordance with this also practiced and observed it in the same form and manner, with bread and wine, read: "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, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body" ( 1 Corinthians 11: 23-29; Acts 2:42; 20:7, 11 ).
How the bread and wine in the Supper are not the real body and blood of Christ, but signs of His communion with the believer, read: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?" (1 Corinthians 10:16-18).
Mark, the Israelites did not eat the altar, but only the sacrifice, and thereby were partakers of the altar. Thus also, Christians do not eat and drink with the mouth the real body and blood of Christ, but only bread and wine, as figures; but according to the soul, they, by faith, receive Christ Jesus, with all His benefits, and are thus partakers of the true altar Christ Jesus.
Read in regard to this: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:35, 63).
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APA style: (1617). Confession of Faith (1617) - Article XXII. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C6653.html/c6653_22.