Why Must You Be Ordained in Order to Administer Communion/The Lord's Supper?


I've been a pastor, with an education, for 9 years. In a different denomination.

Here in the CRC, I am not ordained and therefore not qualified to be a 'pastor', and not qualified to baptize individuals or lead the church in communion.

I just found this out, when our primary pastor was away for the monthly weekend that is designated to celebrate Communion. I was asked to not lead the Lords Supper because I am not ordained.

Respectfully, It bothers me.

Not because of my ego, or my desire for title and prestige. It bothers me because I can not for the life of me understand how this can be considered a biblical policy? In what ways does scripture teach that individuals have to go through years of Calvin or other reformed seminary, and become officially ordained, in order to lead a church in these celebrations? An individual is not qualified on account of their seminary training. There are plenty of terrible pastors with m.Divs. 

Obviously my bias is that it doesn't make sense. But I know that Reformed traditions generally value excellence and accuracy in their interpretation and application of scripture.

So is there anybody who could help me understand the reasoning for this?


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Thanks for the post and I appreciate your concern. I "hear" in your post that you feel disrespected by not being allowed to administer the sacraments, even though you have been ordained in another denomination.

I'd like to bring to your attention a couple things to think about. First, I think the issue you are identifying is not unique to the CRC or even the Reformed expression of faith. I would guess that you would not be allowed to administer the sacraments in most Presbyterian, Lutheran, or even Roman Catholic churches, for that matter. I am guessing the same would be for most churches from the Baptist or Methodist traditions. Only those ordained and authorized by those denominational bodies would permit someone to administer the sacraments. 

Secondly, and closely related, is the expectation and requirement that the person who administers the sacrament has an understanding of those sacraments that are consistent with the biblical understanding and theological teaching of the church and denomination. The CRC understanding of the covenantal promises of God in baptism and the true presence of the Holy Spirit in the Lord's Supper is significantly different than a Baptist, Lutheran, or Roman Catholic understanding of the same sacraments.  Therefore, according to our church order, the proper administration of the sacraments is done by one who is ordained, under the supervision of the council. The assumption is that this person understands and agrees with what the CRC believes that Scripture teaches about baptism and the Lord's Supper. 

Using this as a background, the Church Order of the CRC requires that the sacraments "shall be administered upon the authority of the the consistory in the public worship by a minister of the Word (CRC), a commissioned pastor, "or in case of need, an ordained person who has received the approval of classis..." In certain circumstances, a member of the council, ordinarily an elder, could administer the sacraments when an ordained minister is not available. (Reference Art. 53 & 55  and their supplements of the C.O.)

I provide this to you as information. Hopefully, you have a better understanding why the council asked that you not administer the Lord's Supper. You might not agree with these reasons, but the council acted consistently within the CRC's understanding of whom may offer the sacraments. 

Regards, Todd

Thanks for your response, Todd!

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Your welcome, and thank you for being willing to assist your church in the bringing the Word!