The Lord’s Supper at Home

I have worked for an invalid, a sincere Reformed Christian woman. The Sunday worship services were brought into her home by telephone line. On the Saturday evening before the administration of the Lord’s Supper, the elders brought her the bread and wine. Then, on Sunday morning, she ate the bread and drank the wine in her home at the same time that the congregation was partaking at church.

Would this be improper administration of the Lord’s Supper?

Ellen VanDenTop

Lynden, WA


In response to your question we point you to Article 64 of the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches: “The administration of the Lord’s Supper shall take place only where there is supervision of elders, according to the ecclesiastical order, and in a public gathering of the congregation.”

This article contains two stipulations regarding the administration of the Lord’s Supper. 1) It must be under the supervision of the elders. This makes “open communion” impossible. We practice close or supervised communion. 2) The Lord’s Supper must be administered in a public gathering of the congregation.

The instance you cite is in violation of this second stipulation. The fact is that the lady in question does not partake of the Lord’s Supper in a public gathering of the congregation, but does so in her own home. There is good reason for this second stipulation. Part of the symbolism of the sacrament is the fellowship which the believers have in the body of Christ. Hence, the people of God congregate at the Lord’s Table. Still more, the preaching of the Word must accompany the administration of the sacraments (cf. also Article 56 of The Church Order).

Both the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Christian Reformed Church in North America have by synodical decision made exceptions to the stipulations of Article 64. The Protestant Reformed Churches continue to maintain the stipulations of Article 64.

-Editorial Committee