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Those Individual Cups

Those Individual Cups

by J. W. McGarvey

Published in
The Christian Informer
July, 2001

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Last updated:
August 1, 2001.

In order to have a better understanding of the controversy over the introduction of individual cups into worship we reprint the following:

McGarvey writes on -

Those Individual Cups

The fresh and verdant fad of the individual communion cups, which is all the rage now with church members who care more for "keeping up with the precession" than for following the example of our Lord, has received a black eye recently from two sources. A Methodist bishop has refused to use them when brought forward where he was to officiate, and the General Conference of the Methodist Church, North, has forbidden the use of them to churches. See the clipping below which we take from the Western Recorder:

"Recently in the meeting of the New Hampshire Conference, Bishop Faster, of the Methodist Church, refused to have the communion administered in the individual communion cups which had been brought forth. He refused to consider the innovation on the custom of the churches from the days of the Lord to the present time a matter of indifference. The Methodist General Conference voted down overwhelmingly a motion to allow the use of the individual communion cups in their churches."

Whatever may be the special pleading in excuse for this innovation, it is perfectly clear that it aims to avoid that which the Lord enjoined in instituting the Supper; that is, the use of the same cup by a number of individuals. He could have directed each of the twelve to drink from his own cup, had he adjudged that to be the better way. But he did not, and we shall be far more likely to please him by doing what he did than by doing what he avoided. If it is wrong to change in the slightest degree the ordinance of baptism, it is still worse, if possible, to change the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Do you plead the danger of contracting disease? Then you adopt a plan which you have indignantly rejected when it is applied to immersion. The legs of the lame are not equal.

From Biblical Criticism Conducted by J. W. McGarvey
Christian Standard, June 25, 1904.