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Apr 29

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Is Communion Gluten-Free?

Gluten-free Communion Bread

Gluten-free Communion Bread

Food allergies are unfortunately becoming more common.  Many have adopted a gluten-free diet.  Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat.  Many are not highly allergic, but have a food sensitivity to gluten that affects their health.  Some have been diagnosed with celiac disease and exposure to gluten can bring a severe reaction.

What is the Christian to do who has been diagnosed with celiac or has a gluten sensitivity?  Does communion bread have gluten?  Are there other Biblical options?

The emphasis in the Bible is upon the bread being “unleavened” which means without yeast.¹  The Lord’s supper was instituted by Jesus in the context of the Passover meal where the Children of Israel ate unleavened bread.²  Leaven through the Bible is a symbol for sin and impurity.³  Leaven is yeast, which is what causes bread to rise.  So the biblical requirement is for unleavened bread.  Their is no requirement on the type of flour base used to produce the bread.  The Bible does not tell us, as far as I am aware, of what type of flour base was used by the Israelites.  Though it is highly likely it was different than our genetically modified wheat flour base used today. There are various gluten-free flour bases available like rice, almond, or corn that someone can use.  The matzos unsalted crackers today are made with a wheat flour base, thus these do contain gluten.

Options for the gluten-senstive person:

  • Partake in the regular communion bread as offered by your congregation.  I have in my family a number of family members who are gluten-free.  None of these who partake in communion have celiac disease, but all choose to eat gluten-free because of health reasons.  They simply partake of communion.  It is such a small amount of gluten that it does not affect their overall diet of being gluten-free.
  • Provide gluten-free unleavened wafers for yourself.  You could make your own communion bread from a gluten-free flour base and bring it to church and use this when partaking of communion.
  • Speak to the church leadership about providing gluten-free communion.  This could be done, but the logistics would have to be worked out, but it is a service that many churches may have to provide in the future.

Finally, let me say, that the primary concern for the Christian is focusing on the body of Christ (1 Cor. 11:23-34).  If you are concerned about consuming gluten, and that has your mind away from Christ, then take steps so your mind can be focused on Jesus and your relationship with other Christians.

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1 – Exodus 12-13

2 – Mat. 26:18-19, 26-29

3 – Luke 12:1, 1 Cor. 5:6-8, Gal. 5:9

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/is-communion-gluten-free/

1 comment

  1. Susan Bass

    There are several members of our congregation who are sensitive enough that
    the communion bread effects them (myself included). We also have a
    newly diagnosed Celiac member & a newly baptized teen with a wheat
    allergy. One of the longest GF members makes GF communion bread for us
    & keeps it in the freezer for each of us to pick up before worship.

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