PAGES FROM THE PAST
1, 1986 Issue
M. Lynwood Smith
The article we have this month truly befits this heading. "Foot Washing" written in 1920, September 15th, by H. C. Harper in The Apostolic Way. This is the first installment of a four part series. I have only this one and the fourth. If any of you should have the other two, would you please submit a copy? Even in this first article, however, we get the "layout" of his position.
by H.C. Harper
Is footwashing a church ordinance? Some honest people have been led to think that it is, and I have received a pamphlet setting forth this teaching with a request that I review it.
The writer I am to review evidently needs reviewing. He says: "Besides feet-washing, the communion supper is the only ordinance that sprang into existence that night."
Here the writer would have us accept his ipse dixit that "feet-washing" took place "that night" -the night the Lord's supper was instituted. But nothing is farther from the truth. Not only did "feet-washing" as recorded in the thirteenth chapter of John not take place "that night", but it never did take place by the authority of Christ as a "church ordinance" like "the communion supper." Never!
The "feet-washing" took place at a supper "before the feast of the passover," as John plainly states. Jno 13:1.
At what "supper" was this, where Jesus washed the disciples' feet? Well, let us see. Turn to the "supper" mentioned in Matt 26:6-16; Mark 14:1 -11, and Luke 22:1-6. Read them all, and note the facts of that "supper."
1. The feast of the passover "drew nigh." (Luke 22:1) To be exact, it was "two days before the feast of the passover." (Mark 14:1).
2. Satan entered Judas (Luke 22:3).
3. Judas went out to bargain with the priests for the betrayal of Christ. (Matt 26:14,15; Mk 14:10,11, Luke 22:4,5).
Now turn to the "supper" recorded in the thirteenth chapter of John and note the facts and you will see that it is this same supper, as recorded in Matt 26:6-16; Mark 14:1-11; Luke 22:1 -6.
1. As we said, it was "before the feast of the passover" (verse 1). In fact, some thought at this supper that Judas, when he went out, was to buy what was needed "against the feast" of the passover (verses 28, 29) plainly showing as stated in verse 1 that this supper in the thirteenth chapter of John was before the feast.
2. Satan entered Judas (v. 27).
3. Judas went out to bargain with the priests for the betrayal of Christ (verses 21 and 30).
Now, all can see, except those who close their eyes to the "facts" that the supper recorded in the thirteenth chapter of John is the supper that took place in the house of Simon the leper at Bethany two days before the passover supper, and hence two days before "the communion supper," which followed the passover supper.
Hence, "feet-washing," so-called, as a church ordinance being founded upon a false conception of scripture, is seen to be merely an ordinance of men. And the Apostle plainly says: "Why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men. (Col 2:20-22).
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