Close Communion

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Frogman, Apr 8, 2003.

  1. Frogman

    Frogman
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    I am a missionary landmark baptist. By this I mean to say that I believe there is a succession through the ages of the Baptism of John, which baptism Christ submitted to and also chose the 'material' of the church from among those who had submitted to this baptism.

    Now, you are wondering why I started this thread with the words Close Communion?

    Because, first it seems everyone attempts to stay away from this discussion. (Though not all). However, I think this is a very important matter.

    "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

    My question to you is how we can hold to a Close Communion if we cannot claim a succession any more than spiritual?

    I have read where that Matt. 18.20 is used to show that where ever two or three gather there is the Church.

    Let's discuss that passage. I'm open to discussion.

    It seems it is believed that Matt. 18.20 makes the church to be where ever Jesus is in the midst, but a closer look at Matt. 18 teaches to me this is speaking of discipline in the already present church.

    Further, if we are to permit two or three to constitute a church and thus claim an authority to baptize why was Christ careful to submit to the baptism of John?

    How are we to hold anyone from communion, when all is necessary is they too claim the authority to baptize?

    Seems then that this teaching falls because it cannot support or bear its own weight.

    It merely serves to remove the authority of baptism from the church where Christ put it.

    These are some of my thoughts...what are yours?

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  2. Frogman

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  3. Frogman

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  4. Jonathan

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    The first difficulty that the Landmarkers have (I speak from personal experience as an "alumn" of this group - I probably have every major piece of literature in the Landmark Baptist canon) is that, to support historic church successionism one must have an actual paper trail that traces back to John.

    Such a trail simply does not exist, despite the little booklet that my church created nearly 100 years ago (The Trail of Blood).

    The second difficulty that Landmarkers have is specific to communion. The Scriptures simply give no authority to any church to withhold communion from anyone. "Let a man examine himself" is a exhibit A. Exhibit B is the clear fact that Jesus himself allowed an unsaved man to participate during the initial observance of the ordinance. Exhibit C is the example of Paul "breaking bread" with a gathering of folks who were not all from the same local body in Acts 20.

    [ April 09, 2003, 07:28 AM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
     
  5. tyndale1946

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    I too agree with what has been said... As true Primitive Baptist also claim that right of true church. The question remains how does one trace their church back to John The Baptist? Not only that can you trace a church name back to John The Baptist? Very few have heard of Landmarkers and probably fewer than that have heard of Primitive Baptist.

    So how does one go about tracing church succession?... Can you trace it by name?... Is it the name that identifies the true church or is it the doctrine?... Catholics also claim that they are the true church but on closer examination they cannot be because the doctrine does not match scripture.

    In the Primitive Baptist Church our communion is only for those who belong to the church or sister churches of our same faith and order... All others are not qualified... Not only that we have wine and unleavened bread and we also wash feet. Just like it was practiced at the last supper. Brother wash brothers feet and sisters wash sisters feet. They are never mixed!

    Another thing I forgot to mention to be in our communion... You must be a baptized believer of a Primitive Baptist Church... Which means we accept no baptism but our own or of sister churches of our same faith and order. We also accept no Bible in our churches but the KJV but we are not of the only group... As our reasons are higher than they can imagine... We feel true church true Bible and this is not up for interpretation as it is in our Articles of Faith that we are forbidden from using any other... THE KJV IS THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD!... And it ends there... And is the only one in our pulpits.

    I will not argue with my esteemed brother in Christ Brother Dallas as if the Landmark brethren say that they are true church... They have a right to believe that... Even though I believe to the contrary.

    This being all said what does it mean?... True Church is measured by true doctrine only and those brethren that adhered to that true doctrine down through the ages of time... It can be measured no other way and that is the only measuring stick... Brother Glen & Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  6. mark

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    Dear Brothers and Sister,
    I am fasinated by this conceptof baptismal succession, but how in the world would I know whether mine dones go back to John? SOmetimes I think, "well, of course it does", but then I think perhaps someone in Europe or somewhere heard or read the gospel and shared it and then they all baptized each other. There is no way for me to know. Do you folks know without doubt about your baptism heritage?
    Mark
     
  7. Rev. Joshua

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    John's baptism is clearly not the relevant baptism. It was an act of repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah. Those who were baptized by John were baptized again (Acts 19:1-5).

    Anyone who is baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and nurtured in a saving faith in Christ is baptized in the tradition of the early Church.

    My own position is that it is God's meal and not mine, and I will not refuse it to someone who asks for it for fear that I might be turning away someone whom Jesus invited. If the thief on the cross was worthy to join Jesus in paradise without any baptism at all, then I imagine he would have been worthy to join with him in the meal that is meant to be a foretaste of that paradise.

    Joshua
     
  8. Frogman

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    Thanks brethren for your time in answering this post.

    As I mentioned in the initial post, this is a very real concern to me. I assure you I am not just seeking controversy.

    However, the truth remains that Christ submitted to John's Baptism, and that material from which he constituted the one true church in existence at his death and resurrection had submitted to the same.

    I do not propose baptism as being necessary to salvation. Only that baptism is necessary to membership in the church. If it is not John's then Christ and the apostles remain members of a church that we (man) somewhere has changed by changing baptism.

    It remains that John is the only man in history to have divine authority to baptize.

    Bro. Glen, I would not fall out with any (as some missionary churches do) over washing of feet. Nor for the lack of music and sunday school would I be concerned.

    However, I do remain certain that Christ instituted the church, and placed into that body he created a baptism that has been perpetuated.

    I have to run, I will post more later pertaining to Acts 19 and what is my belief.

    Thanks.
    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  9. imported_J.R. Graves

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    Since Brother Jonathan is my good friend (and more of a Landmarker than he wants to admit) I will reply to his three problems with Landmarkism and ecpesially closed communion.

    Problem A - Baptist Successionism is unprovable. I think everyone on the Baptist Board would agree that there have always been true Christians on the earth. And I think most Baptists on this board would agree that there have always been true Christians on the earth who believed and praticed believer's immersion. The Bible promises this in Matthew 16:18, Matthew 28:20, Ephesians 3:21, etc. Yes, historians disagree on how much historical information we have and how to interprete it. But the Scriptures promise a perpeturity of New Testament churches.

    Problem B - The Church forcefully restricting the Lord's Supper. I think I Corthians 11:2 gives the church this right. Yes, those observing are to examine themselves. But the Bibles sets up several prerequites to communion. Also if an athiest, muslim, or hindu comes to your services and wants to take communion, are you going to allow them? I am reminded of a story of where John Calvin (not a Baptist or a landmarker) was approached by several drunk soldiers during a communion sevice who asked to be served the Supper. Even though they were armed, Calvin refused and said they could even kill him, he would not do this.

    Problem C - Acts 20 and the "breaking of bread" at Troas. The Bible never says there was a "church" at Troas. There were some Christians there and they "broke break". Was it the Lord's Supper? Acts 27:35 uses the same words, but all agree it was not the Lord's Supper. Could it have been a fellowship meal? To base open communion on this one unclear verse is wrong.

    Three Quick Reasons Why I pratice Closed Commuion:

    1. Communion is a Church Ordinance - I Cor. 11:17-20. There is no biblical reason or example to take the Supper to the hospitals, nursying homes, or in priviate homes. It should only be observed by the assumbled church.
    2. Proper Baptism is a Prerequisite to communion. Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:41-42, I Cor. 14:40 Only those scripturally baptized have the biblical right to take communion.
    3. Church Discipline is connected to communion. I Corinthians 5:11. A church can only discipline its own members and only knows if its own members are living godly lives. Therefore it should only offer the Supper to its own members.

    Three Pratical Keys to Praticing Closed Communion Without Spliting Your Church.
    1. Observe the Supper during the Sunday night service. It is the Lord's Supper, not the Lord's Lunch. AMEN!
    2. During this time, do not have a regular service, but only have a communion service. (No full preaching or full singing service)
    3. Announce several weeks ahead of time from the pulpit and in the bulletin that "the members of ???? Baptist church will be observing the Lord Supper on ??? Sunday night".

    You will be surprised how this will cut down on visitors in your communion services and stop many of the problems associated with closed commumnion.
     
  10. Frogman

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    Thanks J.R. Graves for your post. I agree with you. Here is something I have been reading and would like to post it here for you guys to consider and/or critique. My comments are found after the article. (I also posted this on the HBS e-mail forum).

    Has anyone or rather everyone read the article "The Only Scriptural Baptist Churches On Earth Are Self-Constituted
    By: J.C. Settlemair?

    I have the article in a copy of The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator from Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church in Memphis.

    I would like to discuss this article.

    First with the section: Church Perpetuity is Through Self-Constituted Churches (GPP, May 1, 2002, p. 7).

    Under his third point the author quotes from History of Va. Baptists, Semple, p. 71. as follows:

    "With regard to the constitution of churches. 'Any number of members that live at a distance too far to assemble with ease, with the body of the church, at their monthly meeting, having first obtained leave from their church, have a right to petition any ordained minister of the same faith and order, with what helps he chooses, being approved of by the members, to look into their stability; and if found ripe, to constitute a church, describing their boundary and allowing the privilege to any member who lives near to the said limits to join which of the churches he pleases."

    Then the author offers this comment:

    'The reader can easily see that the authority, in the viewof these churches, was not in the church or churches granting letters, it was not in the ordained minister, and if not in them, then where was it?"

    Honestly, do you agree with this assessment? Is the author not disregarding the plain statement of the quote from Semple's book which says: '...having first obtained leave from their church...' and '...have a right to petition any ordained minister...to look into their stability; and if found ripe, to constitute them a church, describing their boundary,"

    I am of the opinion that the correct reading of the quote from Semple shows the authority to be given as is Scriptural only in the church, that to say men have the right to constitute a church is equal to saying we cannot rightly deny communion to any, regardless of the baptism they have received.

    Here is what I believe.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  11. ScottEmerson

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    Good answer, Joshua. I wonder why people don't say this more! The baptism that we follow is the one specified in the book of Acts - upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit. The Baptism of Christ was more of a Jewish thing than a Christian thing. People would do well to remember that.
     
  12. christfollower55

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    i don't understand the subject. however, i belive in submerging during baptism. i don't belive in sprinkling. but that is not what saves you so in my eyes why dispute about it.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
     
  13. Frogman

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    Good answer, Joshua. I wonder why people don't say this more! The baptism that we follow is the one specified in the book of Acts - upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit. The Baptism of Christ was more of a Jewish thing than a Christian thing. People would do well to remember that. </font>[/QUOTE]This is exactly why people don't use this more often, because it denies the head of the church to have a valid baptism, that is if you make John's baptism any thing other than Christian.

    The confusion is that people equate salvation to 'a baptism' of the Spirit. This baptism (of the Spirit was promised to the assembled church and was collective and occurred only once in history, the individual believer enjoys an indwelling of the Spirit, but not a baptism of the Spirit.

    Later I will post a contextual look at Acts 19 to show my meaning further.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  14. Haruo

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    A bit off the "Communion" topic, but here goes nothin' ... Siblings Glen & Charlotte, is it possible for you to be in communion with a church whose primary language of worship and preaching is not English? If so, what Bible do you insist that they use in order to fit your notion of "true church"?

    Haruo
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    Brother Dallas, I believe in more than a spiritual succession. But some Baptists who did/do not believe in succession did/do practice close communion on the basis of baptism being a prerequisite to communion. Often people associate close or closed communion with landmarkism and successionism (and may thus intend to vilify it). But, based on the testimony of the most respected historians among open communionists, close communion predates landmarkism by about 250 years. So even if the recent origin of Baptists theory and that landmarkism is a "new" idea is accepted, close communion cannot be to attributed to landmarkism, the open communionists themselves being witnesses.
    If a person has a theory of succession that requires proof of that succession in every link from the present back to John the Baptist or Jesus, he has a belief that cannot be substantiated. A continuous chain is not historically demonstrable. That in itself is no more proof that it does not exist than the lack of a demonstrable genealogy proves I didn't descend from Adam. What all that means is, any kind of succession or perpetuity must stand or fall on the rule of faith - the Holy Scriptures.
    </font>
    • Exhibit A - one must realize that Paul's appeal to "let a man examine himself" was not urged in a vacuum. The context of the statement is his instruction to the baptized believers of the church of Corinth (cf. 1:2, 11:2, et al.). Therefore, it does not follow that Paul is issuing a blanket statement to every individual upon the face of the earth to examine himself as to observing the Lord's supper.</font>
    • Exhibit B - Judas' presence at Jesus' institution of His supper is no more problematic to close communionists than it is to open communionists. He met outwardly every requirement of open communion (professing believer) and of close communion (professing believer, baptized, church member). But he truly met no requirement of either.</font>
    • Exhibit C - The breaking of bread at Troas has often and traditionally been considered to be the Lord's supper. It is even the sui generis evidence of the "Campbellites" requirement for weekly communion. The context indicates a meal - "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight...When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed." Let it first be shown that this is the Lord's supper before it is used as a proof-text concerning communion. Even if we were to admit that the reference is the Lord's supper, it does not negate restricted communion, though it might present some difficulty to those who insist that only members of one local church may partake together. IMO, this passage presents no evidence regarding communion, because it is not a case of observing it.</font>
    Finally, is there any reason to suppose this statement -
    is any more consistent than this one -
    Any reason?

    [ April 09, 2003, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  16. Mark R

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    I don't mean to sidetrack your topic, but how often do you have communion in a landmark church?
     
  17. tyndale1946

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    True Church... Goes with True Bible... KJV... Which has True Doctrine... Now I will not go into a mudslinging and start attacking others beliefs only post this for you all to look at the... Twelve Marks Of The Apostolic Church... This is my belief!... Look them over and come to your own conclusion!... Brother Glen [​IMG] and Sister Charlotte [​IMG]

    http://www.pbministries.org/History/S.%20Hassell/church_of_god_09.htm
     
  18. Frogman

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    I suppose this would be left to the church. I have never said I disagreed with local autonomy. We at Grider once each quarter as agreed upon by the church.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  19. Frogman

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    Thanks for the link Bro. Glen.

    Bro Dallas
     
  20. Frogman

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    While I agree with Bro. Vaughn's answer to these I would like to address Exhibit B;

    I do not believe Judas was present at the 'institution' of the Supper. I say this from a study of I believe Alfred Edersheim's The Temple: It's Services and Ministries.

    In this the Passover/Lord's Supper is dealt with.
    Let me find this book and I will get back to the post.

    Thanks.
    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     

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