Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 13:2 (Autumn 2000)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Remembering: A Central Theme in Biblical Worship,” Eugene H. Merrill Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43/1 (March 2000), 27–36.

Eugene Merrill is right. Remembering is a central theme in biblical worship. What struck me most about Merrill’s article is that after an extensive and detailed presentation of remembrance as a central theme of Old Testament worship, he then comments on the narrow biblical focus of New Testament worship as follows:

“Remembrance as a constituent of NT worship is, not surprisingly, associated with (and limited to) the Lord’s Supper, for the Lord’s Supper was instituted as a New Covenant expression of the Passover-Unleavened Bread ceremony of the OT (Luke 22:7–8; cf. Matt 26:17-19; Mark 14:12–15). Just as that festival was to be celebrated as a memorial to the exodus redemption (Exod 13:14–16), so the Lord’s Supper was to be a perpetual reminder of the new and great exodus by which all sinners could find release from sin’s bondage and deliverance into new and everlasting life” (p. 35).

Merrill points out that in Old Testament worship, “The traditional rituals associated with these festivals suggest that memory of the events to which they attest is best achieved by reenacting or dramatizing them. This is particularly clear with respect to Passover” (p. 34). He then emphasizes the uniqueness and effectiveness of worship at the Lord’s Supper: “Both the eating of the bread and drinking of the cup are in remembrance (anamnesis) of Christ (1 Cor 11:24, 25). Whenever these are done properly, Paul says, ‘You proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes’ (v 26). The symbolism or reenactment of the death of our Lord is a proclamation without words of the fundamental work of human redemption. It is ritual and drama that eloquently calls to mind the meaning of the gospel” (p. 36).

While Merrill’s paper is scholarly and thorough, it is also timely and relevant in the “Laodicean” days in which we live. Hopefully, his paper will touch the hearts of those who read it, that we might turn from our lukewarmness back to our first love by developing a greater

devotion and commitment to the Lord’s Supper. Eugene Merrill is right. Remembering is a central theme in biblical worship and the Lord’s Supper is the central place to reme...

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