Book Review: What is the Lord’s Supper?

In the height of the Reformation, there was perhaps no more difficult or divisive issue preventing complete unity among the Reformers than that of the Lord’s Supper. Today I’ll be reviewing What is the Lord’s Supper? by R.C. Sproul, an entry in the Crucial Questions series.

Communion, the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist: All these terms refer to the ritual instituted by Christ on the eve of his crucifixion. In this short work, R.C. Sproul explores the history of the Lord’s Supper, its connection to the Passover, and its eschatological significance. In addition, he discusses various theological issues that have bearing on the topic.

As someone who has studied this topic extensively I didn’t find the book terribly helpful. However, like most entries in the CQ series, this would make an excellent book for a membership course, or to prepare a Christian who will be taking communion for the first time.

Like other books in the series, Dr Sproul takes a distinctly Reformed position on the subject, which may be off putting to members of other traditions. Chapter 5 in particular carries the unique understanding of the Incarnation (see Extra calvinisticuminto the discussion. I don’t find this chapter to be particularly helpful for the intended audience of such a book (nor do I find the theology particularly helpful).

As I said, this book would make an excellent addition to the library of a youth pastor or pastor who would like a go to resource to give to someone with questions. If attempting to explain the basics without a particular denominational lean, chapters 1-3 and 7 are universally helpful. For a Reformed congregation, chapters 4 and 6 should be added. I would suggest skipping 5 in most cases, as it is likely to simply confuse the issue at early stages of theological inquiry.

Please note: Reformation Trust / Ligonier Ministries has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes, and will be providing me with a hard copy edition in exchange for this review. They do not require positive reviews, nor have they edited or modified this review in any way.

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