"The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people. For both the parts of the Lords Supper, by Christs ordinances and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians alike."
This article is substantiated by the words of Jesus in Matthew (26:26-29).
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take eat; this is my body.
"And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins, but I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Fathers kingdom."
This is substantiated by the Apostle Paul in the first Corinthian epistle, chapter 11, in verses 25-29. In these verses, Paul states at least 5 times that the laity are partakers of the wine as well as the bread.
During the first eleven centuries, both the bread and the wine were administered to all Christians alike, whether clergy or laity.
There is not one word in the New Testament to indicate that the cup was to be withheld from the laity. On the contrary, Pauls language directly implies that he contemplated that all alike would receive both elements of the supper. The words of Justin Martyr are conclusive for the practice in the second century, "The deacons give to each of those present to receive of the consecrated bread and wine and water, and they carry them to those not present."
Cyril of Jerusalem and many others of the Church Fathers supply evidence for the fourth and later centuries. But it is needless to cite testimonies when it is admitted by Cardinal Boria that "the faithful always and in all places, from the first beginnings of the church till the twelfth century, were used to communicate under the species of bread and wine, and the use of the Chalice began little by little to drop away in the beginning of that century (12th) and many bishops forbade it to the people to avoid the risk of irreverence and spilling.
Cyril of Jerusalem, in his writings, states "Then after having partaken of the body of Christ, approach also to the Cup of His blood, not stretching forth thine hand but bending and saying in the way of worship and reverence, 'Amen; be thou hallowed by partaking also of the Blood of Christ."
However, even during the early centuries of the Church, there were those who abstained from receiving the chalice. Among them were a sect known as the Manichees or Manichians. Leo I, in AD 440 writes concerning them. He says, "They receive Christs body with unworthy mouth, and entirely refuse to drink the Blood of our Redemption; therefore we give notice to you, holy brethren, that men of this sort, whose sacrilegious deceit has been detected, are to be expelled by priestly authority from the fellowship of the saints."
It appears that the Church from motives of reverence, and anxiety to avoid accidents and scandal refrained from offering the Cup. But the refusal to offer the Cup was definitely condemned by the Council of Clermont under Pope Urban II in 1095. Pascal II in 1118 also criticized those who refused to serve the Cup with the Bread.
Aquinas also condemns them, stating "Gelasius (who condemned the practice) speaks only in reference to the priests, who, as they consecrate the whole sacrament, so ought they also to communicate it to the whole."
The twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Clermont is clear, and states positively that "no one shall communicate at the altar unless he receive the Body and Blood separately and alike, unless by way of necessity and for caution."
Pope Pascal stated, "Therefore, according to the same Cyprian, in receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord, let the Lords tradition be observed, nor let any departure be made through a human or novel institution, from what Christ the Master ordained and did. For we know that the bread was given separately and the wine given separately by the Lord Himself; which custom we therefore teach and command to be always observed in the holy Church save in the case of infants and of very infirm people who cannot swallow bread."
However, the custom spread throughout the West and when the abuses of the Church began to attract general attention, a council was called; the Council of Constance (1415) to correct the abuse. Instead of correcting the abuse, it confirmed it. The troubles and bloodshed which grew out of this decree are matters of history, on which it is unnecessary to enter here. It was the decree of this council that precipitated the Protestant Reformation.
The confession of Augsburg in 1530 restored to the laity the Cup as well as the Bread, and put an end to the abuse of "half communion," which had grown up. The Reformers returned to the custom of the Church for the first eleven centuries.
The Council of Trent (1551), a Roman Catholic Council, defended and declared the policy of only giving the Bread to the laity. The council found it difficult to support the decree, except to state that since our Lord did not participate in both kinds, according to John 6:53, it was not necessary for the laity to do so.
The Council declared that since salvation rested in the Church, it had the right to declare its practices and it decreed that the offering of the Bread as His Body was sufficient.
The superstitious belief that grew up in the Roman Church that the consecrated Bread and the Cup now actually became the Body and Blood of Christ had much to do in the making of the decree.
If the elements are actually His body and His Blood, then an act of the greatest irreverence would be committed if a portion or a drop fell to the floor. Therefore the priest became the custodian and was totally responsible. The laity now in fear rather than in love and blessing approached the Lords table.
Such teaching is far removed from the intention of Jesus who declared it to be merely a memorial or a remembrance of His sacrificial death in behalf of our redemption. Protestantism has always declared it to be just that, a Memorial of Him, and returning to the practices of the early Church, offer both the Bread of His Body and the Cup of His Blood, symbols of the New Covenant or Testament. This ever reminds us of His sacrifice and death until He comes for His own.
Therefore, "The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people: for both are parts of the Lords Supper and ought to be administered to all Christians alike.