October 1, 1986 Issue

NOTE: From time to time we will reprint materials from issues fifty years ago. The following piece was first published on page two of the October 1, 1936 number of Old Paths Advocate. It was written by J.D. Phillips who was then an editor of this journal. Daniel Sommer, of the Apostolic Review had written about Bro. Phillips' tract "The Cup of the Lord" and both the review and Bro. Phillips' comments are here reprinted for your benefit. D.L.K.


    Bro. Daniel Sommer, the senior editor of the Apostolic Review, of Indianapolis, Ind., has the following to say of my recent booklet, in their issue of Nov. 8, 1932. 
Read it; then read my reply:

    "Since I began the preceding paragraph I have read a well-written and well-printed pamphlet of something over thirty pages titled ‘the Cup of the Lord." As soon as I saw that title and the name of the pamphlet's author I suspected his purpose. And before I had read more than a few pages, and noticed the labored and learned style they indicated, I thought of the fable of the mountain that travailed and brought forth a mouse! My reason for thus thinking was that the author of that pamphlet labored to show that but one cup should be used in the communion, commonly called "the Lord's Supper." I can take the testimony he quoted and show that the cup or container of the fruit of the vine in the communion was and is only incidental, even as the "upper room" was incidental where the communion was first given and where Paul met at Troas, and as the time of the day or night for communion was incidental. And the same may be said of the form of the confession of faith before baptism, also the mention of running water for baptism was incidental. All that receive that pamphlet may do well to read it and forget it.

    In Eph 4:4-1 mention is made of seven ones as a basis for Paul's exhortation in regard to unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. These are "one body" or church, "one Spirit," "one hope," "one Lord," "one faith," "one baptism," "one God and Father of all." But these are not enough for certain disciples. They wish to add one "cup" in the communion. To all such we kindly say: we cannot go beyond what the Apostle Paul declared on the subject. And I would kindly advise all advocates of "one cup" in the communion to refrain from further disturbing the disciples of Christ and others in regard to "one cup" for the communion. They must pass from "the cup" to "one cup" in order to make a showing in their behalf, and then must imply that Paul should have mentioned eight foundations for unity instead of only seven!"


1. I have always admired Bro. Sommer for his uncompromising fight against what he considers error and I sincerely thank him for his complimentary statements to the effect that my booklet is "a well written and well-printed" one and that its style is a "learned" one, though I assure my readers that it was far from my intention in writing the tract to indicate anything "learned" on my part. So far from trying to indicate any learning on my part, I appealed to the best authorities on language, such as lexicographers, grammars, concordances, professors of languages, historians, etc., and then quoted verbatim et Ilteratim. What education I have was gained in the University of Hard Knocks. In Bro. G.C. Brewer's review of my booklet in the Gospel Advocate, he does me an injustice by speaking of the work as a "show of learning."

2. By his reference to "the fable of the mountain that travailed and brought forth a mouse," Bro. Sommer virtually admits that there is at least enough truth in the booklet to equal "a mouse"! Thanks. Now, follow that "mouse" of divine truth and we will have peace on the cup question.

3. Bro. Sommer is an able writer, and he usually sees things just as they are. But when he puts "the cup" (Matt 26:27) which "is the New Testament" ratified by Jesus' sacrificial death (Luke 22:20; Matt 26:28) on equal footing with the "upper room" and contends that both were incidentals to the communion, he shows a serious lack of logic and reason. Jesus did not give thanks for the "upper room" as He did the cup. The "upper room" did not contain His covenant sealing blood, as did the cup. He did not give any command in regard to the "upper room." He did give a specific command in regard to "the cup", saying Pino ek autos pantes, which correctly translated, "You must all drink out of it" (Matt 26:27); and Thayer says, "Pino ek (drink out of) with a genitive of the vessel out of which one drinks, ek tou poteerious", out of the cup. Jesus says, "This cup is the New Testament" (Luke 22:20). He did not say, this "upper room" is the New Testament. "This cup containing wine, an emblem of blood, is rendered by the shedding of my blood, an emblem of the New Covenant" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T., p. 15). This makes "the cup" as essential to Scriptural communion as the wine in the cup. The "upper room" is not essential to the communion. We cannot "drink the cup" (1 Cor 11:27) without "the cup."

4. Bro. Sommer could have quoted 1 Cor 10:17 in connection with his "seven ones" of unity in Eph 4:4-6, and shown that the "one body", the church, has "one loaf" to symbolize its unity. "Because there is one loaf," says Paul, "we ought to consider the whole congregation as one body." The Jews had "twelve loaves" to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Christ had one physical body, and he said of "the loaf" (Matt 26:26), which is "one loaf" (1 Cor 10:17), "This is my body." He has also one spiritual body, the church (Col 1:18). "One loaf" symbolizes its unity (1 Cor 10:17). And since "the loaf" of Mt 26:26 is the "one loaf" of 1 Cor 10:17, "the cup" of Matt 26:27 is the "one cup" of Ignatius. It is a well authenticated historical fact that Peter ordained Ignatius bishop in the church at Antioch, where "the disciples were first called Christians", (Acts 11:26 and this same Ignatius suffered martyrdom for our blessed Lord in A.D. 107, just one year after the death of John the Apostle. He says: "There is one cup in the unity of His blood" (Epistle to the Philadelphians). Some render it from the Greek. "There is one cup to (show forth) the unity of His blood."

5. Bro. Sommer admits that it would be a point in our favor if the N.T. read "one cup," instead of "the cup." Very well. All the best Greek MSS of the N.T., such as Alexandrinus, Sinatiaticuss, etc., omit the article, making it read simply poteerion, which is "a cup, a drinking vessel" (Thayer). The critical text of Westcott and Hort reads, "a cup." The American Standard version, as well as many others among the best, read "a cup." And where is the man of Bro. Sommer's learning and ability that does not know that "a" in "a cup" is the Anglo-Saxon for one? And we all know the rule of logic: "The expression of the one excludes all others."

Other OPA Article Links:

Innovations - Multiple Cups

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