Andrew Fuller Friday: Administering the Lord’s Supper without a Minister

Substance of the reply given (in 1805) to a Baptist church in Edinburgh, who, being destitute of a pastor, had communicated at the Lord’s table without the assistance of a minister, and requested the author’s opinion of the validity of their practice.]

I told them that probably there were few of my brethren who might be of my mind; but I had long been of opinion that there was no scriptural authority for confining the administration of the Lord’s supper to a minister. I had no doubt but that the primitive pastors did preside at the Lord’s table, as well as in the reception and exclusion of members, and in short in all the proceedings of the church; and that, where there was a pastor, it was proper that he should continue to do so. But that when a pastor died, or was removed, the church was not obliged to desist from commemorating the Lord’s death, any more than from receiving or excluding members; and that it was as lawful for them to appoint a deacon, or any senior member, to preside in the one case as in the other.

Neither did I recollect that any minister is said to have administered the Lord’s supper, unless we consider our Saviour as sustaining that character at the time of its institution; and this silence of the Scriptures concerning the administration appeared to me to prove that it was a matter of indifference. Finally, I told them that it was not the practice of our English churches; that they, many of them, would send for the pastors of other churches to perform this office; and that I for one had often complied with such requests. I could wish however it were otherwise, and that every church, when destitute of a pastor, would attend to the Lord’s supper among themselves.

It is the practice of this and all the Baptist churches in Scotland to commemorate the Lord’s death every Lord’s day. I do not think this to be binding, but am persuaded there can be nothing wrong in it, and that probably it was the practice of the primitive churches.


Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 3, p. 496). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |January 25th, 2019|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday|

About the Author: