Question: What does the meeting in 1 Corinthians 14 refer to?
Answer: The meeting in 1 Corinthians 14 is a meeting for the exercise of spiritual gifts. Our Saturday meeting is somewhat similar in nature to this kind of meeting. Today we do not have the kind of spiritual gifts that were present in the early days. We are merely meeting according to that principle.
Question: Hebrews 10 mentions not forsaking our assembling together. What kind of meeting does this refer to?
Answer: It refers to all kinds of meetings, including the brothers’ and sisters’ meetings.
Question: When should we break the bread during the bread-breaking meeting?
Answer: The breaking of bread is for the remembrance of the Lord. Therefore, we should break the bread as soon as possible. We do not have to always wait for Eutychus to fall down before breaking the bread. During the bread-breaking meeting, we should look for the high point of the meeting. Since everyone has different circumstances, family backgrounds, and environments and because everyone has different problems, failures, and weaknesses, bringing these things to the meetings is unavoidable. Therefore, concerning the bread-breaking meeting, some should begin the meeting by calling a hymn or by praying; this helps bring everyone out of their distractions and helps them forget about all the things that have happened during the past six days. The high point of the meeting is when someone prays and brings everyone up to a certain point, and everyone is released and says amen. That is the time to break the bread. We cannot break the bread immediately after we come together, because we are weak. It is common for us to bring our circumstances, family, and other things to the meeting, which frustrates our oneness. Therefore, we cannot break the bread immediately. There is a need for someone to bring us to a certain point, a climax, before we can break the bread. If we delay breaking the bread then, we will recede from that high point. Therefore, we have to take care to break the bread as soon as the high point is reached.
Question: Should offerings be made during the Lord’s Day bread-breaking meeting?
Answer: It does not matter very much one way or the other. Of course, it is the Lord’s commandment that we offer our money on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week, all the brothers and sisters, including all the workers, should offer. If they do not, they have disobeyed the Lord’s command. Both the breaking of bread and the offering of money should be done on this day, but they do not have to be done in the same meeting.
Question: Should the bread-breaking meeting be in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
Answer: The teaching of the New Testament is that it should be in the evening. The Lord’s supper should be eaten in the evening. Generally speaking, we eat breakfast quickly because we are in a hurry to go to work. Lunch is a meal eaten in the middle of our labor. This is why many people eat lunch at their place of work and do not go home for lunch. Only dinner is the family meal, in which the whole family gathers together to eat in peace and joy. For the sake of the brothers who are responsible for preaching, it is also better for the bread-breaking meeting to be in the evening. If the bread-breaking meeting is in the morning, those brothers will try to eat in a hurry because they have many burdens they have to release through their message. If we break bread in the evening, they can sit comfortably at the Lord’s table.
Personally, I feel that it is better to break the bread in the evening, particularly in China. Of course, this will present some inconvenience to the sisters. In all the denominations in China, the services are conducted in the morning or afternoon. The members have developed the habit of attending services in the morning or afternoon. If our bread-breaking meeting is in the morning or afternoon, it is difficult to deal with these ones; if we allow them to partake of the bread, we are not sure whether they are saved. But if we do not allow them to partake of the bread, we may offend them. If we break the bread in the evening, there will not be such an inconvenience. If they come, they will find that there is no message. Moreover, the distance it takes to come to the meeting is great, and it will be late by the time they return home. As a result, they will not come. This is why we say that the bread-breaking meeting in Shanghai is best conducted in the evening.
Question: When we break the bread, do we have to lift the cup to bless it as it says in 1 Corinthians 11?
Answer: The matter of lifting the cup is a Catholic tradition. Catholic priests claim to bless the cup on behalf of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, when they lift up the cup, they speak in place of the Lord: “This is My body, which is broken for you. This is My blood, which is shed for you.” Some Protestant denominations such as the Anglican Church, Presbyterian Church, and Methodist Church also do the same thing. Our present practice tells us that we cannot bless on behalf of the Lord. We believe that the Lord is among us and that He is still blessing the cup. When we bless, we are merely speaking on behalf of the brothers and sisters to the Lord: “Thank You, Lord.” We believe that this is scriptural (1 Cor. 10:16). If any brother stands on behalf of the Lord Jesus, this usurps the Lord’s position too much. The brothers among us merely serve as the spokesmen of the other brothers, thanking and praising the Lord this way. Since this is the case, there is no need to lift up the bread and the cup. Any brother who is in fellowship with us and who is not hindered by any evil, can stand up and give thanks for the bread on behalf of the other brothers.
Question: Should we stand up, sit down, or kneel down when we pray? If we do not kneel down when we pray, does this mean that we are being disrespectful?
Answer: There are many different ways to pray. The reason we do not kneel down is that the place is too small and would present a problem if we all knelt down. Moreover, the Bible never tells us whether we should pray by sitting down, kneeling down, or standing up. The Bible does not consider it disrespectful to pray without kneeling down, and it does not consider kneeling as the sole condition for praying. The worshippers of Buddha in China are the only ones who have to kneel down when they worship. The Bible records the Ephesian believers sending Paul off by kneeling to pray at the seashore. However, in Matthew, the Lord teaches men to pray by shutting their doors (6:6); He did not say to kneel down. The Bible often mentions praying by covering up one’s face, and a few times it mentions praying by sitting before the Lord. The Bible also mentions praying by lifting up one’s hands. For example, Moses lifted up his hands on the mountain. In fact, the Bible often mentions praying with uplifted hands. Lifting up one’s hands is a sign of beseeching God. Therefore, when one lifts up his hands, it means he is invoking God’s attention. This is why Paul told Timothy to “pray in every place, lifting up holy hands” (1 Tim. 2:8). One can pray in every place. But it is not easy to pray in every place by kneeling down. It is not difficult to lift up one’s hands in prayer. But it is impossible to kneel down everywhere because, in some places, one cannot kneel down. Personally, I think this matter should be left to each person’s own conscience. If a brother feels in his conscience that he should pray by kneeling down, he should do so. But there is no need to consider kneeling as a law.