In a short video currently circulating online, Dr. Abel Damina classified the communion and water baptism as signposts or symbolic rituals that became irrelevant with the coming of Jesus.
Is he scripturally correct? Let’s examine pages of scriptures to ascertain the true Biblical position on this issue.
In Luke 22, beginning from the fifteenth verse, Jesus addressed his twelve disciples. He told them about how he eagerly desired to eat the passover with them before he’d suffer.
He also told them that he would not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. What he is saying in other words is that he will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.
The coming of the kingdom of God, here referred, is the Dispensation of Divine Government – the last dispensation in God’s plan for man, where Jesus is the universal ruler of the earth.
So in other words, Jesus is saying to us that the communion is something that he’s still going to have with us in the future when we meet with him face-to-face because the communion is beyond a symbolic ritual. It represents a right hand of fellowship.
This is the reason, in the nineteenth verse of Luke twenty-two, he specifically told the disciples to take communion in rememberance of him.
In 1 Corinthians 11:25, Paul corroborated the words of Jesus. The passage says,
“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Communion is not just a symbolic ritual; it is also a standing ordinance in the church that was not only observed on the first night that it was instituted.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the early church observed it, up till this moment.
The members of the early church were commended for continuing in fellowship, and in “breaking of bread,” meaning, the communion.
The disciples at Troas met together on the first day of the week “to break bread.”
And though they were disorderly in their practice of it in the church at Corinth, yet they did not neglect communion itself.
So it has been continued in the churches of Christ ever since to this day (Read these references: Acts 2:42, 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20, 21).
The purpose of the communion is to recall the death and resurrection of Jesus and its significance to the church.
It is not an objection of any force that types, figures, shadows, and ceremonies are now ceased since Christ, who is the body and substance.
But there are figures and representations of Jesus recommended to the church to observe. The communion and baptism are two figures recommended to the church:
Baptism is to be a “figure,” that is, of the burial and resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 3:21), and so the Lord’s Supper is a “figure” of his broken body and bloodshed.
The early Church celebrated Jesus by taking communion, sometimes every day (Acts 2:42-46). Jesus told us clearly the reason we should take communion, which is to preserve rememberance.
Now, on baptism, Jesus told us to make disciples and then get them baptized. The early church observed the practice of water baptism as a symbolic ritual of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection.
Paul did baptize some into water in his early ministry. In fact, Paul himself was water baptized by Ananias in Acts 9:18.
Water baptism did not begin at Paul. It had been in operation since the Mosaic Law and during Jesus’ earthly ministry and through Pentecost.
Secondly, Paul was given a dispensation of God that was ‘kept secret since the world began’ and so could not be the same message associated with water baptism (Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 9:17, Gal 1:11-12).
Lastly, Paul was eventually instructed by Christ upon further revelation not to baptize as is evident from 1 Corinthians 1:17.
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17
Based on the scriptural evidences provided so far, Dr. Abel Damina was wrong to condemn the very things that Jesus told the church to observe either as a memorial or as a figure.
Lastly, on anointing oil. Dr. Abel Damina also condemned the use of oil by the church. Although the use of anointing oil by the church is almost a seeming substitute for faith in most places.
But still, that does not overrule the fact that the Scripture in James 5:14 admonished the sick to call on the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
But according to the Scripture, it is not the anointing oil that will even heal the sick. James 5:15 says that it is the prayer of faith that will heal the sick!
So the emphasis is faith, not the oil. It is a sad reality that the faith of most church assemblies are built on anointing oil. Oil has become a big business for many.
So on the use of oil, this is the only reference in the New Testament. And its use is only mentioned for the sick. Also, it is not the oil that heals the sick, but the prayer of faith.
So “anointing service” where people are anointed with oil for preservation, protection, success, or breakthrough is unscriptural. There is no basis for that in Scripture.