Definition and Demarcation – Conrad Grebel and Others to Thomas Müntzer (September 5, 1524)
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Tenth, the Supper of unity was set up by Christ and established by Him. 11. Only the words of Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and 1 Corinthians 11 shall be used: no more and no less. 12. The minister of the congregation shall pronounce them, reading from one of the Gospels or Paul. 13. They are the words of institution of the Supper of unity, not of consecration. 14. Common bread shall be used, with no idolatry and with no additions: for these (human additions) introduce a make-believe reverence and adoration of the bread, as well as a turning away from the inward. Also a common drinking vessel shall be used. 16. This will eliminate the adoration, and guarantee a true knowledge and understanding of the Supper. For the bread is simply bread, yet by faith the body of Christ, and an incorporation into the body of Christ and with the brethren. One must eat and drink in the Spirit and in love, as John 5 and elsewhere indicate, as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11, and as Acts 2 clearly teaches. 17. Although it is simply bread, where faith and brotherly love prevail it shall be partaken of with joy. When observed in that way in the congregation it shall signify to us that we are truly one loaf and one body, and that we are and intend to be true brothers one with another. 18. But if one should be found who is not minded to live the brotherly life, he eats to his condemnation, for he does not discern the difference from another meal. He brings shame on the inward bond, which is love, and on the bread, which is the outward bond. 19. For he fails to be instructed as to the body and blood of Christ and the Testament He made on the cross, that he shall live and suffer for the sake of Christ and the brethren, the Head and the members of Christ. 20. Also, it should not be administered by you (sacerdotally). Thereby the mass, with its individual eating, would be abolished. The Supper however is to be an exhibition of unity. It is not a mass or a sacrament. Therefore no one shall receive it alone, neither on a deathbed nor otherwise. Neither shall the bread be locked up, etc., for the use of an individual person, and no one shall take for his own individual use the bread of those in unity – unless he is not in unity with himself, which is never the case with anybody, etc. 21. It shall also not be used in temples, according to all the Scriptures, and what we learn from history, for that is what creates a false adoration. 22. It shall be observed often and much. 23. It shall not be observed except in conformity with Christ’s rule in Matthew 18, for then it would not be the Lord’s Supper, for without Matthew 18 everyone runs after the outward, and that which is inward, namely, love, one lets go; and brethren and false brethren go to the Supper together and eat. 24. When you wish to serve (communion), we would desire that you do so without priestly clothing and the vestments of the mass, without (liturgical) singing and without additions. 25. As to the time, we know that Christ gave it to the apostles at supper time, and that the Corinthians so observed it. Yet we do not designate any specific time, etc.
We know that you are far better instructed about the Supper of the Lord than we are; we only indicate our understanding. If we are not right about this, instruct us better. But do drop the singing and the mass and operate only according to the Word, and draw and establish from the Word the rites of the apostles. If that cannot be done it were better just to leave everything in Latin, unchanged and unmodified. If that which is right cannot be set up, do not administer it either according to your own custom or that of the antichristian priests. At least teach how it ought to be, as Christ does in John 6, teaching how a person must eat and drink His flesh and blood. He pays no attention to the apostasy nor to the antichristian sparing – like the most learned and outstanding evangelical preachers do, making the Supper an actual idol which they have set up and established in the whole world. It is far preferable that a few be rightly instructed in the Word of God, believing aright, walking in virtues, and observing [biblical] rites than that many through adulterated doctrine falsely and deceitfully ‘believe.’ Although we admonish and entreat you, yet we do hope that you will of yourself wish so to act. We give this admonition the more freely because you listened to our brother in such a friendly manner, also acknowledging to him that you too have given way a bit too much, also because we regard you and Carlstadt as the purest proclaimers and preachers of the purest Word of God. And if you both justly rebuke those who mix human words and rites with the divine, you really ought also to dissociate yourselves from the priesthood, benefices, and all sorts of new and old usages, and from all other notions, both your own and those which are ancient, and thereby become entirely sound. If your benefices, like ours, are founded on tithes and interest, both of which are simply usury, and you are not supported by the whole congregation, you ought to withdraw from the benefices. You know well enough how a shepherd ought to be supported.