Over the years, the Devil realizing the immense potentials of the Holy Communion in bonding Christians to Christ has always struggle to bring many distorted understanding of the practice into the Church. This was exactly what he did with the Corinthian Christians and Paul had to write to correct the misunderstanding (See 1 Corinthians 11: 17-21).
The Devil has not changed his tricks! The Devil as usual has introduced a new dimension to his tricks by making Christ’ very clear instruction on the Holy Communion complicated for Christians. Devil’s intention is simple- to mislead believers.
Here, I will not concern myself with the much debate that the subject of Holy Communion has generated over the years. Issues such as frequency (how often should the Holy Communion service be conducted/administered?), time (what time of the day should it be conducted?), eligibility (who qualifies to participate?) and the elements- bread/body and wine/blood (is it a leavened or unleavened bread? Is it an alcoholic or non-alcoholic wine? Is the body and the blood the real presence of Jesus Christ, or transubstantiation, or transignification, or sacramental union, or memorialism, or consubstantiation, or impanation, or consecration, or words of Institution? I will only concern myself with a development in the practice of the Holy Communion that is fairly new to me.
It is now a common phenomenon and practice in some part of Africa (and probably across the world) for certain preachers to teach and administer the Holy Communion primarily for healing purposes. These teachers teach their sick adherents that they could obtain healing by participating in the Holy Communion. On a numbers occasions, I have heard some pastors charged their congregants to claim healing for themselves in the cause of participating in the Holy Communion. Is this Christ’s purpose for the Holy Communion? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong to pray for and desire healing for our sick brethren; but it is very misleading to teach and also to make them believe they could obtain healing by participating in the Holy Communion. I understand that healing is a “commodity” that is in a very high demand, yet that does not mean people should be deceived in their quest to get healed of their ailments. The following are some the reasons why I believe it is wrong to administer Holy Communion primarily for healing:
- There is no single biblical reference to support the practice. Even 1 Corinthian 11: 17-34 that the exponents of this practice usually quote to support their practices says nothing about receiving healing through the Holy Communion.
- Jesus never practiced or commanded it. There is no single place in the Bible where Christians have been commanded to partake in the Holy Communion for healing purposes.
- It is against Christ’s purpose for the Holy Communion. Jesus’ purpose is very clear in I Corinthians 11: 23-26: “Do it in remembrance of me!” I am sure that if Christ had wanted us to do it for healing he would have communicated the same to us in a very clear way.
- The Apostles and Christians of the early Church never practiced it. We heard of the many miracles of healing that the Lord performed through his apostles in the Church but none of the healing was received through the administering of the Holy Communion yet the practice was frequent in those days [Acts 2: 42-47; 19: 11-12]. The mother in-law of Peter was sick and in fact, Paul had a thorn in his flesh, yet neither Jesus Christ nor his apostles administered the Holy Communion to heal the sick [ Matthew 8: 14-17; 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10.
- As against healing believers, the Bible makes it clear that careless participation in the Holy Communion could lead to sickness, weakness and physical death (See 1 Corinthians 11: 28-30).
In conclusion, we worship the All- mighty, All-knowing and the miracle-working God! He has the sole will and power to heal and not to heal. He could work through any means to heal and perhaps through the Holy Communion, but this MUST be left to His prerogatives ALONE. Preacher should desist from trying to help him by creating doctrines that are not founded on the TRUTH – the Bible. This is therefore a solemn warning to those who are guilty of this strange teaching to beware! To administer the Holy Communion mainly for healing purposes is not biblical. Christians should remember that Jesus said in the last days, “… false and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matthew 24: 24-25, NIV).