Church Discipline and the Lord's Supper

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    This is a spinoff from the Church Discipline thread.

    Let's say a member resigns in the middle of a disciplinary process. The church acknowledges the resignation and separation, and removes the name from the roll.

    At the next Lord's Supper observance, the former member shows up. Will you serve this ex-member? Why or why not?

    Let's say you would not. How you handle this potentially awkward situation?

    What needs to happen before you would allow participation?

    Let's add further details. This ex-member goes to the pastor upon arrival and tells him that even though he/she is no longer a member, she is a Christian and feels the need to take the Lord's Supper. You're the pastor. What now?
     
    #1 Tom Butler, Jan 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2009
  2. matt wade

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    OK...this is a loaded question because it also brings up the issue of open/close/closed communion.

    I would not servce the ex-member because I'm a closed communion believer. It would have nothing to do with the discipline, but my belief on communion.

    If I did believe in open communion I would still not serve. Based on their actions they have unrepented sin and are not eligible to partake.
     
  3. Salamander

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    Not. She must be a member to receive an ordinance of the church.

    It would be announced before observing this ordinance for all non-members not to participate. This action makes it a matter of accountability to the local assembly, not the assembly being accountable to the individual.

    She will have to go public with her admission of her sin before the congregation. After a specified amount of time, no less than 90 days, and depending on the severity of her sin, (the more severe the sin, the longer the period of time), this church will allow her to have a part. This will only happen as she has been restored into fellowship and become a member again.

    I believe this falls under just who is ordained to perform the ordinance and not who wants to participate in it. It's all a matter of who is in authority.
     
  4. webdog

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    Where in the Bible are there regulations of who should serve, and to whom? I thought the warnings were to those partaking, not to those who are serving...
     
  5. Salamander

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    Ok, show us where the partakers have authority over the administrators?

    All of this has to do with who is in authority over church ordinances.
     
  6. webdog

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    I asked first...
     
  7. OldRegular

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    I believe Paul addresses this problem in 1 Corinthians 5:

    9. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
    10. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
    11. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
    12. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?


    Of course I believe in closed communion myself!
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Yep, it is sort of a loaded question, because it puts the open communion view to the test.

    Actually, closed communion and church discipline are closely related. Those who favor closed communion don't have to face the OP question. Nor do they have to face the question of dealing with someone who's been disfellowshipped by another congregation, for whatever reason.

    You and several others have passed the OP test.
     
  9. John Toppass

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    If it is closed communion then no one but members who in the eyes of the other members deserve to participate. (I do not know how closed communions work)

    If this person has gone to the pastor and requested participation then the pastor will have a chance to counsel them and permit or deny participation based on their actions.

    To insist that they apoligize to the whole church and then serve public probation, when the problem has not come before the church would be IMHO the church acting a bit to big for their britches.

    The churches job is not to punish, but to receive and support the brethren while doing actions that worship God.
    Dishing out public punishment is not worship.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Closed communion is for only those who are members in good standing of that congregation. Even though there may be other Baptists, others of like faith and order, and Christians of other denominations present, they are not served.

    This is based on the idea that they are local church ordinances, not just Christian ordinances; that Paul told the local church at Corinth to guard the ordinances (I Cor 11:2). Paul's instructions for proper observance of the Lord's Supper later in chapter 11 were given to the local congregation. It is also based on the fact that the Great Commission was given to an assembled congregation; and that the Lord's Supper can only be taken when the church is assembled.

    there are churches which will invite other Baptists to participate. This is called "close" communion.
     
  11. Aaron

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    The Apostles delivered the ordinances, and ministers are accounted as "stewards (dispensers) of the mysteries (hidden/symbolic things) of God." 1 Cor. 4:1
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    There is a sense in which the apostles taught the ordinances to the churches, because they were the ones Jesus taught, and the ones Jesus gave the Great Commission.

    In another sense, Jesus gave the ordinances to the church, made up of his apostles, established during his earthly ministry. Each succeeding church inherited the same ordinances to keep properly and to guard their integrity.

    The Lord's Supper is always observed in the assembly. In the final analysis, the assembly is responsible for determining who shall participate.
     
    #12 Tom Butler, Jan 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2009
  13. SaggyWoman

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    Stepping aside from the church discipline issue, I personally practice open communion, meaning that if served communion in most churches I visit, I will partake. (Few exceptions include Catholic churches.) Most churches I have attended/visited have been Baptist or similar on stance or presentation of the Lord's supper. I hold this because I am a believer and I believe the Bible says to take part in communion in remembrance of him. I also believe that a person ought to examine ones' self and pray about his/her participation.

    Few times have I ever chosen not to participate. I have chosen not to because either my attitude wasn't right or I had issues of critical nature with broken relationships. I don't believe that participants should cause dissention, for their own proper worship is that of unity.

    For as many churches I have been in where I have participated in Communion, I do not recall a church ever withholding communion from those who were present. Personally, because of my personal worship through the Lord's supper, I struggle with remaining in a congregation that withholds (practices closed communion.)

    Now, add church discipline. I haven't followed the thread on church discipline to know of the issues presented, but am fairly certain that the issues (I hope) are not "shallow" or stupid. I think if a church practices closed communion, so be it. If they do not, they need to make sure they cover the full monty of those who do participate. Certainly, if this lady participates and has been given the opportunity to become right, she will become sick. If she is doing it for dissention, God will repay.
     
  14. Jim1999

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    I believe in closed communion; for baptized believers. I also, however, have never disallowed any CHRISTIAN from partaking. I leave the responsibility on their shoulders and always announce beforehand: "As baptized believers we will partake.............let a man therefore examine himself...........

    If, then, that person can agree to partake, so be it. If they happen to believe infant baptism is biblical, so be it. Who am I to judge them?

    Mr. Spurgeon, a good quoted Baptist, was also open on this question. His church members could oly be baptized believers, but the table was open to believers.

    It is one thing to have rigid beliefs, but quite another to have an open heart.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. LeBuick

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    Let me ask this on top your thread, let's say this same person walks down the isle and wants to re-join the Church. Do you let them?
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    Not unless he/she stands before the congregation, confesses the sin, repents of it, and asks for the forgiveness of the church.
     
  17. Jerome

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    What sin??
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    Remember, this person resigned from church membership in the midst of a discipline process. Pick one.
     
  19. John Toppass

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    ???? So now we have to ask the Church for forgiveness?
    I still think the pastor should be able to council with them and accept(on behalf of the Church) their willingness to change their ways. (Unless the Church just likes to rub salt in the wound instead of offering help in the healing) Besides I believe that this would have accomplished the same thing the discipline prosess was intended to do.

    The way I read it, the Lord's Supper participation is between the believer and the Lord. I do think believers should be forwarned about their participation while being willfully disobedient to God.
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    If the church so desires, it may delegate to the pastor the counseling you recommended. However, the pastor will have to report publicly to the congregation the results of his counseling session. If you are seeking to spare embarrassment to the offending ex-member, this way won't work either.

    I doubt if many churches are trying to rub salt into anyone's wound. No one should take pleasure in the disciplinary process. It should be painful to all and always redemptive in nature.

    I agree with you about self-examination, and Paul's warning about taking the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. Those who do so are placing themselves in danger. I also believe that if the church is aware of flagrant sin, aware of broken fellowship, it is also placing that individual in a dangerous situation by allowing him to participate.

    That's one of the reasons I hold to the idea that the congregation has the right, and the responsibility, to determine whom it will allow to participate.
     

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