Thomas Grantham’s 1678 Observation on Deacon Distribution of the Elements

In 1678, the Baptist Theme Grantham published in London Hear the church, or, An appeal to the mother of us all to all the baptized believers in England, exhorting them to steadfastness in the truth, according to the scriptures : together with some farther considerations of seven queries, sent to the baptized believers in Lincolnshire, concerning the judge of controversies in matters of religion : in three parts. In it, he makes a comment about the distribution of the elements in the Lord’s Supper in Baptist worship.

In like manner he taketh the Cup, after the People have received the Bread, and with Prayer suitable to that great Mystery, it being sanctified, he poureth out of the Wine, remembering the words of Christ, This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood, &c. partakes of it himself (as he did also of the Bread) and gives it to the Deacons to Communicate to all the Congregation, and they all drink of it.

The Three Tables model acknowledges that one cannot make a scriptural case that only deacons serve the elements. Thus, it does not advocate that idea. The study does, however, make an argument for a healthy appreciation of tradition without lapsing into dead traditionalism and certainly not any tradition that is not taught in God’s Word. It is in this sense of healthy tradition, and not eisegetical traditionalism, that the above example is offered and the tradition of deacon service at The Table of the Lord encouraged for consideration.

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