What is the Johannine Communion?
NCW 71, May - June 2001
Q. Ran into your website, I had it as a favorite on my web browser somehow, maybe an article that was interesting or something. Anyway, I am trying to understand many things you write in your website, primarily, what is the Johannine tradition and what is the Johannine communion and how is it different from what the traditional christian churches use which is primarily Pauline in nature and instruction?
A. There are, we believe, two aspects to the Lord's Supper, which for convenience only, may be called the (a) Literal Communion ("Johannine") and (b) Symbolic ("Pauline"). Both are the same "communion" only the first is a "once-only" Communion and the other is a regular weekly/monthly/annual memorial. Paul describes the latter, John the former. These may be paralleled by the "baptisms" (Heb.6:1), one of which is literal (Baptism of the Spirit) and the other symbolic (Baptism in water). The order in which one is baptised will depend very much on the sovereign will of the Lord (Paul and many Christians are baptised in Spirit first and are baptised in water later, it more usually occurs the other way round). The important thing is that both happen.
As the four articles on the Johannine Church explain, the Johannine Communion is a literal Lord's Supper that has tangible effects (as Spirit Baptism does) whereas the Pauline Communion is a symbolic one (like water baptism).
Baptism symbolises what must happen to us so that we can fully arise in Christ. It represents nothing less than the complete death of self represented by the watery grave. This rarely happens all in one go as the Alpha-Christian learns to progressively submit his will to Christ's in all areas of God's Will. Our first water baptism signifies our intent to completely yield to the Lord. In practice we yield ourselves degree by degree (depending on the individual) so that each time we yield a little more sovereignty to Yahweh we become symbolically "baptised", that is, a little more of Self dies, and Christ occupies a little more of His Throne in our hearts. Many of the early Christians used to be baptised in water many-times, the Eastern Orthodox Church retaining a seven-fold baptism tradition which hearkens to the Sevenfold Overcoming of the Book of Revelation represented by the Seven Spirits/Sevenfold Spirit of Yahweh (in the same book).
The Johannine Communion is administered to those who have "overcome" and represents the Christ-Omega of our sanctification - the completion, if you will, represented by the seventh of the seven-fold baptism. These things became progressively diluted in the Church as it Catholicised, even replacing immersion (signifying full repentance) with sprinking and dipping (signifying [unknown to them] partial repentance).
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are therefore two parallel symbolic and literal representations of the Way of Discipleship, respectively, which consists of a first (alpha) salvation of accepting Yah'shua (Jesus) as Lord and Saviour and covenanting to walk in His commandments (which, if we hold fast to, is our heavenly "deposit"), and which thereafter consists of a series of yieldings/overcomings ("working out" of salvation in fear and trembling) which marks our transition from "servants" of Christ to becoming His "friends".
In conlucision, the "Johannine Tradition" is not so much a specialised corpus of Christian writings but a comprehension of the "whole" that I have been speaking about. I hope that what I have written here has in some way helped. Please feel free to direct whatever other questions that are on your heart towards us and we will do what we can to illuminate. I suspect that there are one or two major doctrinal and practical hurdles you have got to get over yet before you can fully perceive the overall concept but I have absolute confidence that you will come to understanding if you are persistent and continue petitioning the Lord for guidance. What we at NCCG.ORG are not about is setting out doctrinal propositions like a Catechism, Confession, or Articles of Faith and making a dogma: the Truth is living, and it is the Spirit which takes the dead letter of the Law and makes it live - our task is to put up sign posts to point in the direction that the end-time seeker must seek in order to find the pieces. The Lord will put them together for you and then you will see. That is the ultimate "Johannine Communion" and not just a sealing ordinance.
This page was created on 1 July 2001
Last updated on 1 July 2001
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