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Self-examination (Some thoughts about Communion)

by Jom Rowe

A young man who later became prominent in churches we now know as Christian Churches and Churches of Christ was active in a congregation making preparations for the annual communion service. (The time was May 1808) This preparation included an interview of each member with church leaders to determine “if” these members were considered worthy to participate in the annual service. Should they be judged worthy, they were issued a coin that granted such person(s) the privilege of participating in the holy service.

            As it was, this young man had been studying the book of 1 Corinthian and the passage noted below became a point of special consideration.

            It became evident to him that it was not appropriate for any other persons to make a judgment as to whether he nor any other person was worthy to participate in the Lord's Supper.  Such a decision (judgment) should be made only by “self-examination” and should only be made upon the attitude of the participant.

            As the time for his congregation to participate in the Lord's Supper (Communion), he deposited the coin he had been given to “qualify” him, and left the assembly without taking the bread nor the fruit of the vine and left the assembly. (By doing so, he was in-effect separating himself from the Anti-Burgher, Seceder branch of the Presbyterian Church.)

            This experience by Alexander Campbell became just one of the principles that led to the movement to restore the church to ancient Biblical principles. (While this experience occurred in Ireland, a similar experience was happening 3000 miles away in Pennsylvania by his father Thomas Campbell.)

            As we participate in the “Lord's Supper”, I am especially grateful that no one other than we ourselves will make a judgment as to whether we are taking it in a worthy manner. (It is well to remember that none of us are actually worthy and may only be considered so in the attitude we have.)

            May God bless us as we examine ourselves by remembering the Lord's Death in a proper manner until He comes again.


James Rowe resides in Louisville, KY, and attends Hikes Point Christian Church.

January 2023


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Philippians 4:13